NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Welcome into Juan’s World and the ‘expected’ unexpected happened at the virtual NFL draft.
The Saints selected an offensive lineman with their first round pick. They had needs at linebacker and at wide receiver, and their first draft selection was an offensive lineman named Cesar Ruiz.
If you’d never heard of him, that’s okay. He’s an offensive lineman and his job at the University of Michigan was the same as it’ll be with the Saints. To protect the quarterback and go unnoticed while doing his job.
If he can do this, with consistency, then Saints fans should be pleased and thankful that he’s doing the job he’s being paid well to do.
Having said all of that, let me say this. Saints fans, I get it. The black and gold seemingly have more pressing needs, like at linebacker. Even head coach Sean Payton acknowledged as much by saying on the radio, "we know we’ve got a need at linebacker. We’ve got to fill that some way, shape or form.' He added, ‘it would be nice if we could fill it through the draft.’
FULL STOP because ‘that’ is why Saints fans are pulling their hair out as I write this. Payton and GM Mickey Loomis could have filled their biggest need and pleased the Who Dat Nation at the same time, if they’d just drafted LSU’s Patrick Queen, who was available and ended up going to Baltimore four picks later.
Draft Queen and the question, ‘why don’t the Saints draft LSU players’, would’ve been put to bed for at least another year.
I understand Tiger fans frustration. LSU always has good players coming into the draft and year after year, the Saints pass on them. Tiger fans may feel like it’s a slap in the face that the kids playing barely an hour down the road, the kids that just won a national championship, seemingly aren’t the right fit for the Saints.
And to that, I say, get over it. It’s not the Saints job to go out of their way to please the local schools by drafting their players or giving their undrafted players a shot.
The Saints primary objective is to mold the best 53 players into a championship roster and if that means they have to do it without an LSU Tiger, then so be it.
At the end of the day, Saints fans should just want a winning team. And they shouldn’t care where the players are from. Just that they are good enough to help this franchise achieve their ultimate goal, which is to win the Super Bowl.
So having said that, we all should’ve expected the unexpected last night. It was the second straight year that the Saints have used their first draft pick on an interior lineman, more specifically a center. It’s also the 5th time in the last six years that the Saints have used a first round pick on a lineman.
The message from the Saints front office is simple. You win the games by winning up front first.
That’s why, getting Cesar Ruiz, while not the sexiest pick, could end up being just what the Saints needed the most.
Juan’s World, Juan’s World. Excellent!!!!