Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the second annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 280 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2020 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). New features for this year include unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, and—for the first time ever—the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.
Continuing our position-by-position preview of this year’s draft class, we shift our focus to centers. As a scouting staff, we use common terminology to grade every trait that we evaluate. We use a 1-9 scale with a 1 representing a “Reject” grade and a 9 meaning a “Rare” grade for whatever trait we are evaluating. We spend a lot of time in our internal Scout School making sure that our scales are calibrated with one another, and this common scale and set of language is a key aspect to ensuring that our evaluations are consistent (that…and cross-checks).
Additionally, for each position in the book, there are positional grading scales. As opposed to grading traits, these scales apply to stacking the final grades for each prospect. The final center scale is as follows:
|9.0-7.0||High-end starter. Pro Bowl level.|
|6.9-6.7||Strong starter with 2 position flexibility.|
|6.6-6.5||Lower end starter. Backup flexibility at OG or OC.|
|6.4||Starter with no position flexibility.|
|6.1-6.0||Developmental. Top traits but needs time.|
|5.9||Backup with no position flexibility. #4 OG or #3 OC.|
Cesar Ruiz: C Rank 1 of 9 | Final Grade: 6.7
Report by Tom Ferner & Daniel Chidel
Ruiz has all the natural ability, athleticism, and leadership qualities that the NFL is looking for in a center, with a high ceiling to improve.
Ruiz is a center in Michigan’s offense that utilizes a diverse run scheme. He has played in 36 games and made 31 starts, with five at right guard to begin his career and the rest as the Wolverines’ center. He has the prototypical body of an NFL center and he moves very well in the trenches or out in space. He’s been a leader of his unit and grinds down his opponent over the course of the game.
In the passing game, Ruiz sets the protections and communicates well with his teammates and quarterback. He’s an accurate snapper out of shotgun, but has experience with QBs under center. He wins with his awareness of stunts and flexibility to adjust and anchor along the interior and keep a clean pocket up the middle. He does well to look for work over the guards. He can be overpowered at times and can be juked by quick blitzers and lose his balance, but more often than not he wins his one-on-one matchups and negates rushers on contact. Ruiz has decent hand use but could improve his quickness as a hand fighter. He usually has good accuracy with his punch by keeping his elbows in and attacking the chest plate, but lacks some shock in his initial punch. In the screen game, Ruiz is very fluid moving into space from the center position thanks to his quick hips.
In the run game, Ruiz effectively seals off defenders to create gaps for his backs. He has shown the tendency to overstep in zone and allow defenders to cross his face, but usually he is quick off the snap and moves very well laterally. His best trait in the run game is his ability to open up and pull to the front side from the center position. While he doesn’t attack moving targets with ferocity, he is adept at flipping his hips at contact and creating the necessary run lanes. He works up to the second level very well and is an asset as a lead blocker in space. He lacks powerful hands and doesn’t finish solo blocks to the ground, but he sustains well and can drive bigger linemen within a combo block.
Ruiz projects as a solid starting center at the next level due to his major college experience, leadership traits, and well-rounded athletic skill set. He is scheme flexible with the lateral agility for zone and the pulling and double team skills for power schemes. He has the tools to make a successful shift over to guard, but will need to work on his power. He is a reliable pass protector and a versatile run blocker.
|Movement skills in space||Lack of power and finishing tenacity|
|Penalties||Blown Block Splits|
|Zone Run Blocking||Gap Run Blocking||Pass Block|
|Year||% of Runs||Y/A||Pos%||% of Runs||Y/A||Pos%||Pressure%|
|Blown Block %||When Running to his Gap||Total Points|