At pick 41, the Buffalo Bills were able to trade up and draft Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland. It was a move that the Bills brass were ecstatic about. Heading into the draft, Ragland was one of 19 players that the Bills had a first round grade on in the class.
Buffalo plans to utilize Ragland immediately as a rookie and he’ll most likely start the season splitting Mike LB reps with Preston Brown. Brown struggled in Rex Ryan’s defense last year and if his struggles continue, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ragland take over as starter.
Since being drafted by Buffalo, Ragland has drawn comparisons to David Harris, a linebacker that Rex Ryan loved. Gil Brandt of NFL.com recently made the comparison between Ragland and Harris and sees the Bills rookie having an instant impact on Buffalo’s defense in 2016.
Ragland has a lot of the same physical qualities as David Harris, who played extremely well for Rex Ryan when Ryan was with the Jets. I expect Ragland to fill the Harris role under Ryan in Buffalo. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year had 102 tackles and seven pass breakups in 2015. The latter stat is important, because one of the things you worry about with someone who has Ragland's 4.72 speed is the ability to cover tight ends and running backs -- but that was something Ragland clearly was able to do in college. He has very good instincts and strengths, and he's an outstanding tackler. When he gets to 'em, they go down. He's also a great character person. I expect him to rack up 100-plus tackles and improve Buffalo's defense by 7 points per game.
Editor's Note: Brandt's article now reads, "I expect him to rack up 100-plus tackles and help improve Buffalo's defense in a major way." Apparently Brandt realized how big of a change seven points per game would be for Buffalo.
Last year, Buffalo’s defensed allowed 22.4 points per game. If Ragland can improve the Bills defense by seven points per game, as Brandt predicts, the Bills will have a major turnaround on the defensive side of the ball and Ragland really will make an instant impact with Buffalo.null