Oakland, Calif. – For the Detroit Lions’ two rookie offensive linemen, first-round draft pick Frank Ragnow and fifth-rounder Tyrell Crosby, last week was arguably the most critical to date for their early development.
First, the joint practices with the Oakland Raiders gave both the opportunity to experience the challenge of battling against new defensive linemen in an unfamiliar setting, putting their fundamentals and ability to rapidly communicate with teammates to the test. That was followed by the preseason opener, which ramped up the speed and intensity from the practice field.
Ragnow, who struggled with his first taste on an NFL opponent, looking overmatched at times in the first of the two joint practices, came on strong as the week progressed and delivered a strong performance in his preseason debut.
“Well, I think with Frank Ragnow, it was good to see him from the earlier parts of the week to the later part of the week show some improvement,” coach Matt Patricia said Saturday, after reviewing the game film. “I think that was good coming out of last night to see some of that improvement there.”
Ragnow started the game and played 26 snaps. He didn’t allow a single pass-rush pressure and delivered the key block on Ameer Abdullah’s touchdown run, a one-yard plunge in the second quarter.
“(That was) pretty cool,” Ragnow said. “I was just trying to do my job. I guess I didn’t even think about it like that. Just trying to block a guy.”
Crosby, playing left tackle, also had a nice block on Abdullah’s touchdown run, but struggled with his consistency throughout Friday evening. Working a team-high 49 offensive snaps with the second- and third-team offenses, Crosby allowed a sack, quarterback hit and two hurries. He was also flagged for a blatant hold that negated a 57-run by Kerryon Johnson.
“I think in Crosby’s case, again, a lot of different looks on the edges for him,” Patricia said. “Much different kind of scheme and sort of things like that, that I thought he handled pretty well. Still some things that we are trying to clean up from that standpoint, but I think they went out and competed.”
Crosby has worked at both left and right tackle in camp and is battling with Corey Robinson to be the team's top reserve at the position, behind starters Taylor Decker and Rick Wagner. Robinson didn’t allow any pass-rush pressure in 33 snaps against the Raiders.