Lions C Frank Ragnow fractures throat, doesn’t miss a snap against Packers

Want to talk toughness? Frank Ragnow, the Detroit Lions center, fractured his throat early in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay and finished the game.

The NFL Network first reported the injury on Wednesday, saying it occurred in the first quarter.

“I knew something was going on, but pretty crazy that he was able to finish the game with that,’’ said quarterback Matthew Stafford who didn’t finish the game due to injured ribs.

“He came up to me early in the game and was very hoarse and kind of feint sounding. (He said) I can’t really talk just to let you know. Just make sure you’re communicating with everybody up front even more so than I normally would,’’ Stafford said. “It was kind of crazy but it was good. We didn’t have any communication issues the rest of the game.’’

According to the Free Press, Ragnow is able to breathe and eat with the injury.

Even with the fractured throat he didn’t allow a quarterback hit. He played all 67 offensive snaps and four on special teams.

“He’s played awesome, he’s played fantastic. Ultra physical in the run game and does a really nice job in the pass game as well just clearing up a bunch of stuff,’’ Stafford said. “When he gets one-on-one he plays at a high level so we’re lucky to have him. He’s a young player who’s got a ton of talent, a ton of ability, the right head on his shoulders and works extremely hard and leads those guys really well.’’

Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey also noted Ragnow’s toughness.

“The guy goes out there, he’s beat up, he plays center. You watch some of the plays he’s getting hit, he’s getting just blasted almost every play,’’ Caskey said. “The guy plays through a lot, the amount of things we put on his plate from week to week, he’s a very valuable piece of this puzzle.’’

“Love him as a teammate,’’ Stafford said. “Obviously he’ll play through a bunch.’’

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions.)

Five reasons the Detroit Lions will draft cornerback Jeff Okudah at third overall

Lions GM Bob Quinn has pulled a few surprises in his first four drafts with the Detroit Lions.

He opted for tight end T.J. Hockenson a year ago who was not a popular mock draft pick for the eighth overall pick. In 2018 offensive tackle Frank Ragnow was his top pick at 20th overall. In 2017, he drafted Jarrad Davis at 21st overall and in his first-ever draft in Detroit Taylor Decker got the nod with the 16th pick.

So what does Quinn have planned for this draft which starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday?

Good question. He has never drafted this high — the Lions own the No. 3 overall pick, along with eight other picks.

Cornerback Jeff Okudah seems to be the popular pick for the Lions in the first round. That doesn’t mean Quinn will necessarily draft him, but he certainly looks like the top contender in that spot.

Here are five reasons the Lions will draft Okudah:

1. The cornerback has the ideal size — he’s 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds — and the Ohio State credentials. He is set to become the 14th Buckeyes’ cornerback to be drafted in the first round since 1991. He’s also got speed. Scouts say he’s exceptionally quick and can close in on the ball. Face it, the kid has it all.

2. Quinn wants an impact player with that third overall pick. “We have enough guidance in that range that we think we can do that. … Our goal is to get impactful players throughout the draft, whether they’re starters in the middle rounds or just backup and role players and special teams players later in the draft. Our goals haven’t changed, the circumstances have obviously,’’ Quinn said in his pre-draft press conference via Zoom.

3. With the trade of Darius Slay to the Eagles, the Lions have a big need at cornerback. They signed free agent corners Desmond Trufant and Tony McRae. Trufant is not a match for Slay one-on-one. 

4. It’s not common to draft a cornerback early. In the past 19 drafts only five cornerbacks have been drafted in the top five. Quinn said he had no problem with doing so (he wasn’t talking about a specific player) if the prospect was worth the pick. “If we go back to free agency a year ago, we signed Justin Coleman to play nickel and we paid him like a starter because we feel like you need three starting level corners to have a productive defense. So, why teams have shied away, I can’t really answer that. You have to ask the teams that have passed. I’ve never been this high in the draft to experience that,’’ Quinn said. 

5. Okudah is the top of the deep class at cornerback. CBSSports.com says, “(He’s) the best coverage CB in this class and it’s not even close.’’ If Quinn doesn’t grab him with the third overall pick, he’ll have a chance to draft corners later in the draft. But Okudah is a game-changer and could step in right away. Remember Slay only started four of 13 games he played in his rookie season. He wasn’t Big-Play Slay out of the gate, but turned into one of the best in the NFL. That’s exactly what could happen with Okudah.

 

Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, Frank Ragnow injuries not season-ending

Jarrad Davis and Frank Ragnow did not suffer season-ending injuries in the Detroit Lions’ preseason loss to the Bills on Friday night.

Lions coach Matt Patricia gave the update during a conference call on Saturday afternoon. 

He said neither one will play in the final preseason game at Cleveland on Thursday, but wouldn’t put a timetable on their returns. He also said neither one is in the category to be placed on injured reserve to return.

“The one great thing about these two guys is they have tremendous work ethic, we know they’re going to be working as hard as they can to get back as soon as possible,’’ Patricia said.

Patricia offered no specifics on the injuries.

Davis, the starting middle linebacker, was injured on the second snap of the game. And eventually carted off to the locker room from the sidelines. 

“Obviously J.D. does a tremendous job inside the building, outside the building, he just loves football. It’s 24/7 with him. He loves to study it, he loves to learn,’’ Patricia said. 

Ragnow, the starting center, went down about midway through the second quarter. He was helped off the field and it appeared he could not put weight on his right leg.

The first-round pick in 2018 started at left guard last season but moved to center during the offseason.