Analyst Andy Benoit explained that Detroit scored big with Ragland considering the role he plays for a defense. That role, a thumping linebacker, could be maximized in Detroit given the style of defense the team runs under Matt Patricia.
Ragland played well with the Chiefs after coming to the team in a trade, but it’s possible he might fit the Detroit scheme even better than he fit the one in Kansas City. Additionally, the Lions should give Ragland a chance to come in immediately and play a huge role for the team given their situation at linebacker. Depth has been a must, and now they’ve got it.
Lions Signed Reggie Ragland
The team confirmed the move shortly after it was revealed on the internet.
Ragland just won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs in the 2019-2020 season. With the Lions, he will now be counted on to add some depth at the middle linebacker spot and compete there.
Reggie Ragland Stats
Since busting into the league in 2016 as a second round pick of the Buffalo Bills, Ragland has endured a slow start to his career. He injured his ACL in training camp, and then was bumped back on the depth chart. Ragland was then traded to the Chiefs for a fourth round draft pick.
In Kansas City, Ragland has come into his own a bit and has 158 tackles, 2.5 career sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception and 1 touchdown in his career. In the Super Bowl, Ragland collected 2 tackles.
Lions Defense named Free Agency Winner
One side of the ball that needed the most change was the defense. After a horrible pair of seasons under Matt Patricia, there’s already been some big changes on that side of the ball. How will that impact the team when all is said and done? The returns will be very positive if this new piece is to be right.
In a piece breaking down some winners and losers of free agency, Pro Football Focus and writer Ben Linsey took a closer look at what the Lions have done, and found them to be a winner. Here’s a look at what he wrote on that:
“The spotlight is on Darius Slay, particularly after he publicly acknowledged last night that he wants out of Detroit, and as of Thursday morning, a deal has been put in place to send Slay to the Eagles. That is not ideal for the Lions. Despite the down year from a grading standpoint in 2019 (56.4 PFF grade), Slay remains one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. During the five-year stretch from 2014 to 2018, he ranked eighth among qualifying cornerbacks in overall grade, and he routinely draws shadow assignments against the opposing team’s best wide receiver, making those results all-the-more impressive.
As all that trade speculation took place, the Lions went about improving their coverage to soften the blow of his inevitable loss. They signed former New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins, a player who has been outstanding in coverage and as a blitzer for New England over his career but struggled when traded to the Cleveland Browns. He’s an intriguing option for a Lions team that needed an injection of talent into their linebacking corps. The hope is that the transition to Matt Patricia’s defense is smoother than the one Collins made four seasons ago in Cleveland.
Detroit then addressed the secondary with two more moves, trading for Patriots safety Duron Harmon (shocker, I know) and signing former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant. Both players were drafted in 2013, and neither has recorded an overall grade of 65.0 or lower over the course of their NFL careers, rarely dipping below 70.0.
Harmon has been a rangy playmaker on the back end of the Patriots’ defense at free safety. He is one of just eight safeties with 10 or more regular-season interceptions over the past three seasons. Trufant is a 6-foot cornerback who came into the NFL with sub-4.4 speed, and he figures to fit well into a Lions defense that plays a lot of press-man coverage. He’s not quite the same player as Slay, but he has shown in Atlanta that he is fully capable of being the No. 1 guy on the outside. Both players, along with Collins, should improve the Lions coverage in 2020 despite the loss of their top player.”
The Lions still theoretically have a hole at pass rusher and could need another cornerback. All those issues can be straightened out in the draft, which could help the Lions over the top in terms of getting their most important side of the ball turned around.
Even though it’s early on in the offseason, the Lions could be huge winners as it relates to remaking their roster in a key way. Ragland simply adds another piece to this mix.
It could be a perfect piece given the role Ragland can be expected to play, too.
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