Lions O-Line in Good Hands With Evan Brown, Even Without Frank Ragnow

Evan Brown

Getty Lions center Evan Brown blocks Bears defender Angelo Blackson in a 2021 game.

The bad news just keeps coming for the Detroit Lions early in the 2021 season, and the team has lost yet another player to injury.

On the same day the Lions lost Romeo Okwara to an Achilles injury, Detroit coach Dan Campbell revealed that the team would be losing center Frank Ragnow to a turf toe like injury, something which figures to keep him out at least for Week 5 for the Lions.

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Even though that’s the case, the team could be in good shape with center Evan Brown. Against the Chicago Bears in Week 4, Brown played most of the game after Ragnow exited early, and played decently well. There wasn’t trouble with snaps nor was there a downgrade in play, which is the good news as the Lions prepare for life without their Pro Bowl lineman temporarily.

Brown isn’t going to take Ragnow’s job, of course, considering Detroit’s regular center is one of the NFL’s iron men who rarely misses with injury. Even though that’s the case, it’s clear that the young player is poised to be able to step up and step in capably.

Evan Brown Has Been Preparing for This Moment

Perhaps the best news for the Lions is the fact that Brown has been preparing for this moment since the preseason. Ragnow didn’t get much run at the time given the Lions wanted to rest their starters and not overwork them. Interestingly enough, Brown had the most snaps of any player in the preseason in Detroit with a whopping 154 as pointed out by Pro Football Focus.

Brown has played in 13 games in his career, so he does have NFL experience to rely on. For that reason, he’s not like other possible replacements that could come on the roster. Brown was undrafred out of SMU in 2018, but ended up cracking the New York Giants roster in 2018 before being waived in 2019. He would go on to spend parts of 2020 with the Cleveland Browns before coming to Detroit. This year, Brown showed himself as stable enough to make the team.

Now, he will be able to get his first big chance in the league.

Ragnow’s Career Stats and Highlights

Though Brown is a capable replacement, Ragnow is obviously the gold standard for the team and perhaps even at center in the league. Thus far in his career, there is very positive feelings about where Ragnow’s play 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.

So far, that move has aided him in a big way in the last few seasons.

Thus far in his career through the 2021 season, Ragnow has started 45 games for Detroit and has been a rock for the team’s front. He cracked the 2021 Pro Bowl as well as being named a second-team All-Pro. As a result of this, many see Ragnow’s future as a bright one in Detroit.

Here’s a look at some of his better highlights from early in his career:

Frank Ragnow Highlight Reel2019-02-07T10:16:51Z

It will be tough for the Lions to go without Ragnow, but at the very least, Brown figures to be ready to step up and step in for the time being as long as he needs.

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