Cecil is the quintessential Final Fantasy hero.
He's blond, feminine looking, kind of emo, has self-esteem issues, but he manages to save the world, get the girl, and learn something new about himself at the end. And he has a sword. You can't leave out the sword.
But beyond the superficial comparisons and Final Fantasy generally just being repetitive, Cecil left a permanent mark on the series. He's the hero Locke wishes he was and the hero Squall is emphatically not. The knight in shining armor that sort of haunts the hearts and minds of all FF male leads? That's Cecil. At the end, of course, he's your party's rock. You can rely on Cecil to do the right thing, see you through to the end, and just lead. But the journey's as important as the destination.
Because Cecil didn't start out a Paladin, he had to angst his way up Mount Ordeals and fight his inner demons like the rest of them. Cecil brought depth to the RPG world in a way he is seldom credited for today. The hero's journey that begins when an unfeeling soldier begins to suspect that there's something more to the world, yeah, that's Cecil. The complete steadiness he has at the endgame makes it easy to forget how full of doubt he was at the beginning. Cecil's got one of the steepest lists of sins in Final Fantasy main history, because he really was the soldier for the evil empire of his own free will. The head soldier, even. And then when he finally tries to do the right thing, he winds up blowing up a town. Final Fantasy heroes are now free to mope about their personal lives and still be fantastic leaders and general inspiration. His exagerated duality took the series in a direction it never left.
Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is you should be thankful to Cecil for all he's done for the series. He goes pretty much unmentioned, Kain and Rydia for some reason have jacked his spotlight in the online world, but his journey is integral to the Final Fantasy series as chocobos.