While many expected the Lions to take a defensive lineman in the first round, instead they drafted center Frank Ragnow with the 20th overall pick.
Coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn couldn’t be happier. Ragnow brings the attitude that the new coach wants. “When he steps in between the lines, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that type of dominating attitude,” Patricia told a draft party at Lions’ headquarters.
“Everything we’re about is what he is,” Quinn said in a post-draft press conference.
Ragnow, who is 6-5 and 312 pounds, was a three-year starter and team captain. He has starting experience at center and guard although he hasn’t been told where the Lions are looking to play him.
At Arkansas one stat stands out: In 33 starts, and 42 games played overall, he did not allow a sack.
Ragnow, in a conference call with the Detroit media on Thursday night, said he interviewed with the Lions at the NFL Draft Combine but had not been in touch since.
“To be honest, I was pretty surprised, they actually mentioned on the phone they really tried to keep their interest in me under the radar ,” Ragnow said. “I was very surprised but I’m so, so excited to be a Detroit Lion.
“It’s hard to put into words, 20th overall in the NFL draft,” Ragnow said. “I’m a kid living his dream. I’m very excited.”
He grew up in Minnesota so has watched the NFC North “my whole life.”
Lions coach Matt Patricia told fans at the Lions’ draft party: ““We got a guy that’s smart, tough football (player) that can help us run the ball and help us protect our quarterback, and someone that can play a couple different positions inside, so we’re excited. This is a guy that (has) great traits, great character, hard worker, everything that we’re about. Blue-collar type of guy that we know is just going to make us tougher up front.”
The big goal is to improve the run game and Ragnow can help. “Hopefully, I think we got a bunch of guys up front right now that are working real hard. We just got done with three good days of work. So, all those guys up front are working their butts off to compete and make us better and that’s just another guy that’ll hopefully help us do that,” Patricia said.
A video from PigTrailNation shows Ragnow taking a call from Patricia to get the big news. He also talked to Lions owner Martha Ford
Per his NFL.com draft profile: “He brings a desired level of physical demeanor to the field each game. Ragnow won’t wow you with foot quickness or athleticism, but he takes smart angles to his blocks and shouldn’t be limited by scheme. His size, power, and anchor is a big plus as is his ability to swing over to guard if needed. Ragnow could struggle to stay connected to blocks against athletic interior linemen with quick hands, but his baseline play is equal to a solid NFL starter.”
NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock ranked Ragnow as the 19th best prospect in the draft. While CBSsports.com ranked him as the best center available and the 33rd best prospect.
(Photo courtesy of Arkansas)
According to CBSsports.com draft profile: “Ragnow entered the 2017 (season) with high expectations and didn’t disappoint. He suffered a high ankle sprain against Auburn in Week 7 that ended his college career. He still graded out as the highest offensive lineman in the nation with Pro Football Focus (93.7) and was named to their All-America first team. He was the probable favorite for the Rimington Trophy until the injury. Despite missing the final five games of the season, CBSSports named him to their All-America first team.”
Former Lions backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky appreciates the pick. He tweeted: “The Lions taking Ragnow at center tells me this: We know we are in the prime years with our QB and we’re going to keep him clean and FINALLY COMMIT TO GIVING HIM A FAIR FUN GAME. They should be very difficult to handle offensively in ‘18.”
The Lions did not bring back center Travis Swanson (he signed with Jets), so there is a need at center. They weren’t desperate because Graham Glasgow could move from guard to center. In other words, they are short one starter on the offensive line.
The Lions have picks in the second and third round on Friday and plenty of talent is available including: Derrius Guice, Anthony Miller, DJ Chark, Courtland Sutton, Dallas Goedert, Harold Landry, Connor Williams, Mason Rudolph, Sam Hubbard, Maurice Hurst, Josh Jackson and Isaiah Oliver.
From NFL.com’s draft profile: