NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock spoke with media over the weekend during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Scout.com was there and provided the network with the transcription. Over this week, Breaking Burgundy will examine some of Mayock's comments in relation to prospects and the Redskins.
The player: Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, is regarded as one of the top inside linebackers in the 2016 draft class.
Need: The Redskins’ defense finished the regular season ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed. While the subpar performance can’t be pinned entirely on one position, inside linebacker is the main area at the second level that needs improvement. At the first level, defensive tackle is the primary concern. Most mock drafts have the Redskins taking a tackle in the first round. If a talent like Ragland is available, however, they may pounce.
The Concern: How Ragland’s skills translate to the inside linebacker position in a 3-4 defensive scheme at the NFL level.
Mayock’s Take: “Reggie Ragland to me is a top-20 pick. I’m not really worried as much about what you have to do in today’s NFL. You’re in a sub package 70 percent of the time, right? So your nickel [corner] is a starter. Who are you taking off the field? Are you taking a defensive tackle? Are you taking an inside linebacker? Who’s coming off the field? Reggie Ragland rushes the quarterback well enough and can cover well enough that I don’t think he’s coming off the field. I like Reggie Ragland.”
What this means: Mayock’s point is essentially that Ragland is well rounded enough to play in more than just a base 3-4 or 4-3 package, and that his skills are applicable to both defensive schemes. If Ragland falls outside of the top 20 to the Redskins at 21, he may be the best available player on the board. Ragland proved capable of being an elite run-stopper in the talent-laden SEC, which generally translates well to the NFL level.
Dan Roth is a freelance sportswriter and Breaking Burgundy contributor. Follow Dan on Twitter @danrothdc.
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