From time-to-time, particularly after an outstanding performance, Alabama Coach Nick Saban will point out that “We don’t have a player who can’t get better.” Some, of course, have more room for improvement than others.
Linebacker Reggie Ragland made steady improvement in his four seasons as an Alabama linebacker, and at the end of his senior year he had helped the Crimson Tide to another national championship. Now he has moved on to the National Football League combine, the specialized camp for the nation’s top professional prospects.
Ragland (6-2, 252) follows a number of outstanding inside linebackers who have moved from Alabama to the NFL, including Rolando McClain and C.J. Mosley.
Many expect Ragland to be the first linebacker taken in this year’s draft. At the combine, he will have a chance to show the scouts what he can do. Of course, he wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have a pretty good idea already.
Ragland led the nation’s best defense last year as its captain and leading tackler. As the middle linebacker hw as also the signal-caller for the defense. He finished the season with 102 tackles, seven for lost yards, including three sacks. He had six quarterback pressurers, broke up seven passes, and forced two fumbles.
The Madison native has had plenty of accolades, including being the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, unanimous All-America, and Butkus Award finalist.
The scouts will not be surprised when they see Ragland’s physical attributes on display. He is a hard-hitting, sure tackler who also has the speed to help with pass rush and pass coverage.
They will also be impressed with his maturity, leadership, and character.
No one should expect Reggie Ragland to be available very long once the draft roll call begins.