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Why Rex Ryan lobbied for the Buffalo Bills to draft Reggie Ragland

Ryan wanted a LB who could have played for the '85 Bears

Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills needed to add a linebacker in the 2016 NFL draft and Ryan wanted Alabama Crimson Tide LB Reggie Ragland. How badly did Ryan want Ragland? He lobbied for the linebacker internally.

In an article from Jenny Vrentas of MMQB, Ryan revealed why he lobbied for Ragland. It turns out that Ragland reminded Ryan of the type of linebacker who would have played for his father Buddy Ryan on the 1985 Chicago Bears. 


Even when Buddy was no longer able to speak advice to his sons, Rex executed his dad’s vision. In this year’s draft, the Bills needed a linebacker, and Rex lobbied internally for the kind of linebacker that would have played on the ’85 Bears. There were other top-ranked players they could have taken, like Darron Lee, the hybrid safety-linebacker the Jets drafted one spot behind the Bills in the first round. But Rex wanted Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, because he was a physical player, “a Ryan defensive player, going back to the days of our dad.” Buffalo took Ragland in the second round.

The linebacker's physical style won Ryan over and the team would have drafted Ragland in the first round if Shaq Lawson had been off the board. Ragland is expected to play a large role for the Bills in 2016, and his physicality will be needed to help Buffalo bounce back from a disappointing 2015 season on defense.


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