Lions add free-agent linebackers Reggie Ragland, Elijah Lee

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Competition in the Detroit Lions linebacker room picked up on Friday after the team reached agreements with free agents Reggie Ragland and Elijah Lee. 

Listed at 6-foot-2, 252 pounds, Ragland is the physical prototype of what the Lions like at the position. A star at Alabama, he was named SEC defensive player of the year in 2015 prior to being selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round the following year. 

Reggie Ragland

But he never played a down for Buffalo, suffering a torn ACL during training camp as a rookie. After the team changed coaches and defensive schemes the next offseason, Ragland was deemed a poor fit and shipped to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a fourth-round pick. 

In three years with the Chiefs, Ragland appeared in 42 games, starting 30 contests. His most productive year came in 2018, when he started 15 games, recording 86 tackles and an interception. He also missed 14 tackles that year, according to Pro Football Focus.

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In 2019, he played a smaller, but more versatile role, including more reps on the line of scrimmage for the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs. 

Lee comes to Detroit with an extensive special teams resume, having played 761 snaps on the units during his three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. An inside linebacker by trade, the 6-foot-2, 229-pounder made five starts down the stretch of the 2018 season, recording a career-high 65 tackles.

Elijah Lee

The additions of Ragland and Lee add to a crowded linebacking corps in Detroit. The team returns Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones from last season, as well as second-round pick Jahlani Tavai and top special teams performer Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

The Lions also added Jamie Collins as a free agent, signing the former Patriot to a three-year, $30 million deal. 

An unfounded rumor circulated on Twitter earlier this week that the Lions had put Davis on the trade block, but a team source emphatically denied the report.