Finding Broncos: Scouting Linebacker Reggie Ragland

MHH's NFL draft expert takes a look at whether this old school Alabama linebacker could fit with the Super Bowl Champion Broncos

http://www.scout.com/player/127600-reggie-ragland?s=101

Combine Results

40-YARD DASH: 4.72 SEC

VERTICAL JUMP: 31.5 INCH

BROAD JUMP: 116.0 INCH

20-YARD SHUTTLE: 4.28 SEC

Pros

-Prototype 3-4 inside linebacker

-Old school hitter

-Willing to initiate contact to clog running lanes

-Has pass rush ability

-Reliable tackler in the open field

-Rarely gets his tackles broken, only 3 in 2015, down from 10 in 2014

-High football IQ

-Can read and diagnose off the snap

-Can “pop” lead blockers to keep them off of him

-His instincts are excellent and he trusts them

-Motor, he never stops or lets up whether his team be up by 20+ or down by 20+

-Doesn’t overcommit when pursuing outside the tackles

-Improved understanding of certain football concepts

-Leader on and off the field

-NFL ready

-Athletic enough to get by

-Can handle easier coverage concepts

-Can cover certain type of tight ends

Cons

-Old school linebacker, speed of modern game seems too fast for him at times

-Limited use in coverage. Can’t cover faster, more athletic tight ends and running backs

-While he improved angle understanding, there is still a lot of work to be done

-Limited athletically

-Got a lot of help by the Tide’s defensive line’s excellent play

-Keeps his eyes in the backfield for too long

-Bites too often on play-action play

-Limited in coverage to short zone concepts as he doesn’t have speed to cover downfield

-Doesn’t always use proper technique when tackling. Relies on the big hit to tackle instead of wrapping up and driving through

-Doesn’t always have the awareness in zone coverage

-Concerns with his durability with his aggressive hard hitting nature

Overall Thoughts

I am a fan of Ragland’s game, but not for the Denver Broncos. The Broncos like their linebackers to be super quick, elite athletically and extremely versatile. Ragland isn’t any of those three. He does have some quickness to his game, but he relies more on his instincts and quick reactions over what quickness he does have in his game. He is athletic enough at the college level, but many scouts say his athleticism doesn't translate well to the NFL. Finally his versatility isn’t versatile enough. He can do some coverage concepts, rush the passer in some sub packages, and stop the run. But the Broncos want a linebacker who can handle all sorts of different coverage concepts.

As for other teams who still like these old school type of linebackers, like the Green Bay Packers, he would be an amazing fit for them. However, because of his fit within the Broncos, I have a hard time seeing him on their board, unless Wade Phillips is willing to change certain aspects of his defense to fit Ragland. That isn’t something any fan would want to see happen after the season this defense had, which was one of the best seasons for a defense, ever.

Now, he has a ton of ability to play on defense, and say he were to fall into late day two or early day three (this is a if, and he actually won’t unless there is some injury or off-field concern I haven't heard about) then Denver would be smart to take him and can use him in certain situations. As I said though, this scenario is about as likely as John Elway being the Broncos quarterback next season, and the odds of that happening are less than zero. Whichever team does ultimately take him will get a damn good football player who can handle the interior responsibility of the right defense for 10+ years.

Broncos Round Projection: Off their board

Where He Goes: Top 20

Per sources, there are multiple teams who really like Ragland and his style of play. These teams are confident in their ability to get their defense to work around him, and him to work in their defense. However, most of these teams feel he will be gone in the top 20 picks, and could be the first linebacker off the board due to the injuries to Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith. It is more likely that Ragland will be the #2 inside linebacker off the board after Jack. Teams can see Smith falling due to issues stemming from his knee injury.

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Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Alaskan_Bronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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