It’s rare to see a center selected high in the NFL Draft, but the Detroit Lions did that a few years back and landed a solid player in Frank Ragnow.
Has Ragnow become one of the best players in the NFL already at center? That’s more than possible to the folks who look at things deeper and watch closely. Recently, analyst Doug Farrar took a closer look at naming the best centers in football in a piece for USA Today’s Touchdown Wire, and Ragnow made the cut for the Lions in the No. 7 position.
Why was Ragnow included? Here’s a look at what Farrar wrote:
“The Lions selected Ragnow with the 20th overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Arkansas, and started his NFL career by placing him at left guard for all but one of his 1,087 snaps in his rookie year. Ragnow allowed four sacks and 36 total pressures in that role, but when he moved to center last season, everything fell into place. Ragnow allowed just two sacks and 18 total pressures in 2019 despite the back injury that cost Matthew Stafford half his season and put David Blough and Jeff Driskel in the spotlight. Ragnow has the strength and leverage to rock defensive linemen off their feet, and the agility to excel in any quick zone-based scheme. With Stafford back in the game, and more reps at center at the NFL level, there’s little doubt that Ragnow’s is a name on the way up at his position.”
Obviously, the Lions have a player they can build around and develop in the middle of their line in Ragnow. The team hopes their draft pickups at guard can do the same in Logan Stenberg and Jonah Jackson.
For now, Ragnow stands as a testament as to what the Lions hope they can build up front in the years ahead. It’s possible he will only surge higher on this list into the future.
Frank Ragnow Named Lions Most Improved Player
Who was the most improved player in the mind of the analysts for Detroit last season? A look at that was recently provided by Pro Football Focus and analyst Ben Linsey.
For the Lions, Linsey had center Frank Ragnow pegged as the team’s most improved player, and explained that a shift back to a natural position helped Ragnow take off in his sophomore season in the league. Here’s what was written in the piece:
“We talked about it before the season, and Ragnow’s move from guard in his rookie season to center in 2019 did, in fact, make all the difference. It was his more productive position at Arkansas, and it is his more productive position through two years as a professional, as well. Ragnow’s 64.4 overall grade in 2018 was a respectable mark, ranking 15th among qualifying left guards, but his 74.9 grade in 2019 bordered on the center position’s elite and ranked sixth among 38 qualifying centers. There was an improvement from Ragnow across the board as both a pass blocker and as a run blocker. He should only continue to improve in the middle of the Lions’ offensive line, given his track record of success at the position in college.”
Ragnow has a great future with the Lions if he can continue his development and also stay away from dangerous situations off the field.
Obviously, this rise is what the Lions had in mind for Ragnow when they made him their first round pick a few years ago. Continuing to see Ragnow develop and improve will be something for the Lions to celebrate.
Frank Ragnow Lions Stats
Thus far in his career, there is very positive feelings about where Ragnow’s career is heading, because he’s been a solid player for the Lions up front along their offensive line. A first round pick in 2018 out of Arkansas, Ragnow has played guard and center for the team before switching back to his natural position in the middle of the line.
Thus far in his career, Ragnow has started 31 games for Detroit and has been a rock for the team’s front. He hasn’t made a Pro Bowl or been an All-Pro player yet, but many see that trajectory for him as he continues to mature and push through his career.
Frank Ragnow a Building Block for Lions
Much is unknown about which direction the Detroit offensive line will take the rest of the 2020 offseason, but the one thing that seems certain is that Ragnow will be a huge part of that direction. He’s solidified things in the middle of the line for the team, and will be a huge part of the future in 2020 and beyond after being a first round pick of the team a few years back. It’s very safe to say Ragnow is the top building block up front for the Lions right now.
It’s good for the Lions to have a solid youngster to build around up front, so the hope is Ragnow can stay healthy and play solid enough to have a successful NFL career.