One of the biggest knocks draft analysts had on Reggie Ragland during the NFL draft process was that he was viewed as a two-down linebacker. Ragland was viewed as a "run thumper," but analysts believed he'd have to be taken off the field on third down.
Pro Football Focus' draft guide said that Ragland could be exploited by running backs and tight ends in coverage, something other draft analysts noted as well. However, the analytics site pointed out that Ragland could rush the passer on third downs.
Perhaps Ragland's two-down linebacker label caused him to fall into the second round of the draft. If that's the case, the Buffalo Bills won't complain. They also aren't going to listen to draft analysts. Ragland told The John Murphy Show that the Bills want to keep Preston Brown and him on the field for all three downs.
"Coach has harped on me and Preston being in on all three downs," Ragland said. "That's what he wants us to do. He wants us to be the guys to make the plays."
With mandatory minicamp over, Ragland is going to spend his downtime learning the ins-and-outs of Rex Ryan's playbook before the start of training camp.
"It's difficult, but thank God I came from a system like coach (Nick) Saban and his coaching staff," Ragland said. "The only thing different about it is the terminology. Once you figure out the terminology and the words and what everything means, it's starting to come so much faster because everything means the same thing, but it's just in different words and forms. So once you get that down, everything's starting to come. So like right now, most of the defense, I understand it. I just can't let this month of July decrease my learning. So I've got to keep learning everything, but for the most part, I know the majority of it right now."
If Ragland performs well in third down situations, he'll be one of the drafts biggest steals at pick 41. Seeing how Ryan utilizes the rookie will be interesting, but it's clear that the Bills expect him to be an impact linebacker from day one.null