Frank Ragnow, the center who never allowed a sack during his career at Arkansas, was a surprise pick by the Lions — which caught many of their fans off-guard, as well as many analysts.
Here’s a quick roundup of what the experts are thinking, with grades and all! (Cuz who doesn’t love way-too-early grades?)
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report
Strengths: Size, power, experience.
Weaknesses: Leverage, injury concerns.
The Lions offensive line ranked last in the NFL in adjusted line yards, according to Football Outsiders. Their running back play was terrible, but often there was simply nowhere for them to run.
Frank Ragnow missed much of the 2017 season with an ankle injury. He could not participate in the Senior Bowl and only lifted at the combine, but he was a full participant at Arkansas’ pro day. Ragnow is a big mauler with pretty good balance and awareness. He adjusts to blitzes well, peels off to engage linebackers and finishes his blocks with hostility. Ragnow lets some defenders get low on him, negating his power, and may have trouble against quick, cagey interior defenders. But assuming his bill of health is clean, Ragnow is a likely starter and a potential steal.
This is a solid pick, though with Harold Landry and others on the board (including a pair of centers who may be as good or better than Ragnow), it may not have been the Lions’ best selection.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer
Ragnow’s a top-tier athlete (90th percentile per SPARQ) who offers great size (6-foot-5, 312 pounds), fundamental technique, and positional versatility for Detroit. He was Pro Football Focus’s highest-graded center in both 2016 and 2017, grading out as an exceptional pass blocker (allowed just 15 total pressures over the past two seasons) and outstanding run blocker. He’s physical, shows a high football IQ, and could be the finishing touch on what’s shaping up to be a very good Lions offensive line.
Fit: A+ Value: B+
Bill Connelly, SBNation
Too low, just right, or too high? Another one that feels too high, but only because I like some of the remaining names on the board more (LAMAR FREAKING JACKSON, Josh Jackson, Harold Landry, Rashaan Evans, Calvin Ridley, Will Hernandez). None of those guys play center, though. Ragnow’s an awesome center, and it never hurts to have one.
That’s tremendous analysis right there, if I do say so myself.
Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated
Picking Ragnow addressed the Lions’ weakness at left guard. Graham Glasgow will now move there, supplanting recently signed backup Kenny Wiggins. The Lions wouldn’t draft Ragnow if they didn’t believe he can be a force in the running game, which has been a deficiency the past several years in Detroit.
Michael Rothstein, ESPN
Why they did it: The Lions wanted to protect Matthew Stafford, which led to the offensive line and center Frank Ragnow from Arkansas. That’ll mean Graham Glasgow is going to be at guard, but this is a stunning pick from Bob Quinn.
Biggest question: Sure, the Lions needed interior offensive line help, but defense has been the bigger issue. This one is a very surprising pick, considering Harold Landry, Taven Bryan and Rashaan Evans were on the board.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com
The skinny: Detroit needed to get stronger in the middle, and did by picking Ragnow. He could play guard for now, or move to center if needed. Either way, he’ll move the line of scrimmage. Matthew Stafford feels better already.
Pete Prisco, CBS
He is the draft’s best center and can also play guard. The Lions have to get better inside, and Ragnow will make that happen.
The Lions went with a center in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. We discuss what the move means for the roster and later in the draft. Justin Rogers, Detroit News