Giants Ink Super Bowl Winning Linebacker, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Giants sign LB Reggie Ragland

Getty Reggie Ragland #59 of the Kansas City Chiefs and teammates celebrate his touchdown.

The New York Giants may still — crossing our fingers — sign Kenny Golladay to a deal. However, thus far the team has used free agency as a way to add low-cost players for added depth to one of the league’s thinnest rosters. Signings such as tight end Kyle Rudolph, wide receiver John Ross and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo are prime examples of just this. Now, it looks as if the team has struck yet again. 

On Friday, the Giants announced that they have signed linebacker Reggie Ragland. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the contract is a one-year deal.

The former second-round pick, who spent 2020 with the Detroit Lions, will provide competition at the team’s second inside linebacker spot opposite stud Blake Martinez. New York recently opted not to tender both David Mayo and Devante Downs, who have combined for 23 starts over the past two seasons at the position. Former Mr. Irrelevant, Tae Crowder, is currently penciled in as the team’s starting inside backer alongside Martinez.

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Ragland Has Been a Steady Contributor Throughout His Career

A two-time National Champion and former SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Alabama, Ragland entered the league with lofty expectations. The No. 41 overall selection by the Buffalo Bills in the 2016 NFL Draft, Ragland’s career got off to a rough start. The Madison (AL) native suffered a torn ACL in training camp, subsequently ending both his rookie campaign and career in Buffalo before it ever truly began.

The following offseason, Ragland was dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick. He would go on to spend three seasons in Kansas City, registering 36 starts (regular season & postseason) over that span, including the team’s 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

Ragland signed with the Detroit Lions prior to the start of last season, joining new Giants personnel executive Kyle O’Brien, who was previously in the Lions’ personnel department. Ragland appeared in all 16 games in 2020, and while he may have started a career-low six games on the year, his 50% defensive snap percentage actually marked a new personal best. Ragland finished the season with 52 tackles, one sack and four tackles for loss.

His best statistical season to date came back in 2018 when he started all but one game for the Chiefs, ranking second on the team with 86 tackles. Overall, Ragland has amassed 212 tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits and two forced fumbles over his pro career.


Coverage Limitations & Pass Rush Upside

Ragland has never quite lived up to the hype that followed him from Tuscaloosa. While he has managed to post multiple overall Pro Football Focus grades of 68.1-plus during his stops in K.C. and Detroit, Ragland is coming off an extremely poor 48.0 overall grade in 2020 (74th among 99 qualifying linebackers). A big factor for his poorest grades has to do with his limitations in pass coverage. It’s a reason why he fell out of the first round five years ago and it’s the same reason why he’s failed to establish himself as a bonafide starter in the league.

In 2020, Ragland allowed a 106.2 passer-rating while in coverage. Checking in at 6-foot-2-inches and north of 250-pounds, Ragland isn’t built like your typical quick-twitch, sideline-to-sideline, hybrid linebacker/safety type that dominates in the modern-day NFL. With that said, his frame does allow him to make his presence felt as a pass-rusher. Ragland posted a career-high 17 quarterback pressures last season and earned a 60.3 pass-rush grade by PFF.

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