Raiders Draft: Reggie Ragland Is The Easy Choice

If you’ve followed Reggie McKenzie closely over the past four years, the next few paragraphs aren’t for you. You’ve been here before. You already know what you don’t know and you know no one knows what Reggie’s going to do in the draft.

Some of you are still reading and shame on you for reading another dart-in-the-dark guess at the Raiders draft.

Nevertheless, here’s my pick for the Raiders…

Reggie Ragland.

Some view Ragland as a late first-round pick and for many Raider fans, the thought of another Alabama linebacker is downright disturbing – interestingly, a University of Houston cornerback (think Stanford Routt and D.J. Hayden) is another consideration with the 14th pick.

But here’s why you may need to make your peace with Ragland…

First, Ragland fills a huge hole in Oakland. The Raiders guaranteed Curtis Lofton $10 million a year ago so Del Rio and McKenzie do value the position. Del Rio is ultra committed to stopping the run and that’s the staple of Ragland’s game.

As for McKenzie, we know he loves hard-nosed players and Raiders scouts were all over Ragland at the Senior Bowl.

Measuring just over 6’1 at the Senior Bowl, many don’t see Ragland as a prototypical middle linebacker, but McKenzie is likely to focus more on film than metrics – and the Alabama thumper isn’t short on impressive film.

Speaking of film, ESPN’s Sports Science studied Ragland and there was even more to like. According to ESPN research, Ragland’s five-yard burst is comparable to that of Ezekiel Elliott, despite outweighing the Ohio State running back by 22 pounds. Ragland’s 20-yard top speed (18.3 MPH) was faster than his Alabama teammate and Heisman winner, Derrick Henry.

Ragland’s NFL comparison, according to the study? Navarro Bowman. Remember last year ESPN Sports Science determined Amari Cooper’s closest NFL comparison was Antonio Brown.

McKenzie will also value Ragland’s character and leadership. Nicknamed “The General” by his college teammates, Ragland was the “absolute leader” of the Alabama locker room.

His versatility is one of the better-kept secrets leading up to the draft and I believe too much has been made of how Alabama chose to use Ragland on third down.

There aren’t many college players more likely to jump into the NFL and make an immediate impact than Ragland. With Charles Woodson’s leadership gone and no clear direction at middle linebacker, the Alabama All-American makes too much sense for the Raiders.

Reggie Ragland is everything Rolando McClain wasn’t and is absolutely worthy of the 14th pick.

twitter: @raidersbeat


31 thoughts on “Raiders Draft: Reggie Ragland Is The Easy Choice

  1. Could not agree more. Have said for months that Ragland needs to be the choice. Fills a huge need and we can address the secondary in the 2nd round easily. Hope to hear next Thursday and with the 14th pick in the 2016 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders select Reggie Ragland LB University of Alabama.

  2. Is there a possibility of dropping down a few picks and maybe picking up another second rounder?? Or third rounder?? While still picking Ragland

  3. I’m curious as a Raider Fan, does anyone see a scenario where Oakland tries to move up and take Jaylen Ramsey? If they could pull that off I have Oakland playing in the AFC Championship Game. It will probably cost but it could be worth the price!!

    1. Only if they trade up to #3. The Dallas Cowboys are going to take him. Ramsey I believe is without a doubt, the best pro ready player in the draft, and maybe the most dominate. Trading to #3 would be expensive, and Reggie loves to keep his picks. I would personally do it, because he would solidify the Raiders secondary. Could be one of the best backfields in the league.

  4. We need a thumper in the middle we need a hard nose running back behind our starter behind dat massive ol nobody wants to hit a 250 pound back late in the game when u r tired Ragland and Henry 1 and 2 den get a corner or dl in rounds 3 and 4

    1. What happens if the other team passes on 1st or 2nd down? Bama tried to blitz him because he was a liability in coverage. The problem with that is he was ineffective there as well.

  5. I agree Aaron but as pointed out he switched to a pass rusher on 3rd down with ball getting heathly and stronger in the offseason if you remember he was great on the tight ends and getting a guy like sua Cravens out of usc can fI’ll that hole he’s a lb slash db with great hands and good talking ablity and great speed a three down plAyer who can do it all and he’s a late 2 early 3 round pick who fIlls a lot of holes

  6. This would be a horrible pick. We already cut a 2 down player incapable of covering a cough so why would we invest a 1st round pick in a younger version of the same player?

    Ragland would have been a great choice in 1999 but not in today’s NFL.

    1. lol its shocking how many people did not read the article. 7+ grade in coverage, aka ELITE coverage skills displayed in college. 3 down ILB without a doubt

      1. That’s not a + 7 coverage grade. It’s everything rolled in one. Ragland isn’t even average, let alone elite in coverage.

        1. You’re interpreting “the only LB to finish with a +7.0 or better grade in all facets (coverage, run, pass rush)” wrong. Ragland did have a +7 coverage grade. He was the only LB to have a +7 vs the run, +7 in pass coverage, & +7 rushing the passer.

          Ragland’s ranks amongst all college LBs last year: 18th against the run, 13th in coverage, and ninth as a pass-rusher.

    2. Let’s remember Lofton had been in the league 8 or 9 years he must have been able to do something right if not a thumper in the middle in the first round then a interior dl then linebacker then rb there are alot of dbs in the draft we can snatched a safety or corner in later rounds the game is won in the trenches did anyone watch the superbowl

      1. The game has changed quite a bit even in just the last 4-5 years. Yes, there was a time when a MLB wasn’t asked to cover and was almost exclusively a run-stopper. Just as SS used to be an in-the-box player and was also rarely asked to cover. However, offenses are using faster and faster players at the slot and TE positions and the defense has been slower to adjust.

        Ragland would we a waste of a 1st round pick. We would have to take him off the field more than he’d be on it. A guy like Kwiatkowski or Vigil later in the draft would be a MUCH better option.

  7. If his burst and top speed stats are true, then I’m all for him. People talk about his 40 time and coverage skills, but the 40 yard dash has been devalued and doesn’t really show anything. Look at leveon bell, dude ran a 4.62 or .65, but I see him out-running dbs all the time. Ragland would bring leadership and stability to the front seven.

  8. Ragland would be a good pick. The Raiders cut Lofton so I could completely see this happening. Sounds like there are 4 options, if Zeke is available… he is hard to pass up even if RB isn’t an immediate need. If he is not available you can go Ragland, Conklin, or Hargreaves III depending on who is available. Sounds like Ragland is most likely of the 4 to be available but I wouldn’t be mad with any of these 4 guys.

    1. In college, he was decent in coverage. Most of the time they had him blitzing on third down so finding tape of his coverage skills is few and far between. If Zeke isn’t there, I could see Reggie making this pick, with Joseph/Thompson/Cash/Neal in the second, and Henry/Green in the third, depending on how the other picks went.

  9. Take McClain out of the equation and Ragland is a no brainer. Yet we have long memories and are concerned with the position and color of his college jersey.

    Think back to the Texans in ’14..they had a chance at Carr, but decided to pass for similar reasons. Good luck with Osweiler.

    The need is there, take him at #14.

  10. NO NO NO. Not a 3 down linebacker in today’s NFL. That +7 grade is misleading, because it hides his coverage grade in all the other measurables. He CAN NOT cover like Navarro Bowman. Not even close.

    Reggie also doesn’t believe in drafting inside linebackers in the 1st round, as he views MLBs and basically linebackers that can’t play outside, where OLBs can switch inside.

  11. First……….I really like Reggie Ragland. He would fit right into the defense the Raiders want to run, but at the #14 pick, you draft the best player available. Yes, a corner/safety, or DE or DT makes the most sense at #14. I say trade up from the second pick, and grab Reggie. It won’t hurt as bad in picks, and they fill two holes right now. The Raiders are finally drafting like a smart team, and I believe they will continue to do so.

    1. The run, and covering the tight-end is the glairing weakness, and Ragland would fit the bill

  12. You do not in todays league draft a player who can not cover on passing downs . meaning he would be on the sideline 65% of the defensive snaps. This team will go Leonard Floyd . Or Shaq Lawson or Vernon Hargrieves III depending on which one falls to 14.

  13. Does noone remember McClain and how long it took him to develop in the NFL, I’m not exactly jumping at the chance to draft another Alabama MLB anytime soon. The pick should be Elliott if he is available, if not go with the best player available in order of priority and/or value, its simple. Ragland is not even close to someone I would be comfortable with at #14. Plus Alabama players especially Saban coached ones are 50/50, either they really excel in the NFL or they fall flat on their face. I personally see Ragland closer to a Trent Richardson type Alabama player than an Amari Cooper type. Also I would be hesistant to draft Henry any sooner than the third round for the exact same reason. I have a feeling that Reggie might take a flier in the later rounds for Odell Beckham’s cousin Terron though. I hope Reggie steers clear of Jackson III too after Routt and Hayden I’d pass U of Houston corners for awhile. In all honesty, unless the Raiders pull off a bold trade to move up and get Ramsey, I don’t really see any DB prospect worthy of the #14 pick and it’ll just be Hayden all over again, so which ever player presents the most value at #14, or trade down, but whatever they do in this draft it will be the difference between another season of finishing the rebuild or finally being a contender right now.

  14. I read and like all the comments, if zeke get to # 14 , we take him, and play Ben in the middle, with have the talent on the ends and linebackers to stop a ball carrier, at the line of scrimmage, we need is a hitter at SS to play close to the line on passing down, west Virginia SS ( forget his name) or cash will play well in silver and black. Raider nation.

  15. Just remember back to last year and the fits many of us had when we could not stop the run. This guy is a a beast that this team has not had since the days of Matt Milen. Additionally the area on the field where other teams tore us up on the short passes is right in Raglands living room. I have no problem with him being our pick at #14.

  16. After analyzing all the free agency pick ups and our current roster, it’s easy to figure out what we need the most. That’s a 3-technique DT, like Sheldon Rankin/AShown Robinson. A disruptor at the line of scrimmage plus will make it easier for Mack to get around the edge for a sack or holding calls. #2 priority is SS (Strong Safety) like Vonn Bell or Jermey Cash or Caverns. #3 priority is a RB back D. Booker which will keep L.Murray fresh for the 4th Quarter to Ice the game or run out the clock. #4 priority in MLB like Scooby Wright. I think B.Heeney & N.Ball along with Malcolm Smith (SuperBowl MVP) can do the job just fine as MLB positions. #5 thru 7 work on back ups like OT, CB, DE. Etc.

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