Reggie Ragland has dominated the SEC for three seasons as the middles linebacker of the Crimson Tide. Ragland has thumped just about every ball carrier in the SEC and has propelled himself into the national spotlight of the draft discussion. Now we must look to see how will fit into the league and to see what he is actually capable of.
Stats: 97 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and 6 pass defenses
Strengths: Reggie Ragland is an old school linebacker. He punishes all ball carriers and makes them pay. Ragland uses this punishing style to put fear in offenses as he punishes every player on the offense. Ragland is also an excellent blitzer that disrupts plays in the backfield. When called on to blitz he displays a pass rushing arsenal to get into the backfield and disrupt the passing lanes. He also has the instincts to get his hands up when he doesn't get there in time to disrupt the passing lanes and has even gotten an interception that way. To compliment his blitzing ability is his pursuit ability. Ragland is capable of chasing down any play sideline to sideline. He also has shown that he can hold his own in zone coverage as he is able to effectively cover his area. Lastly, is the immeasurable leadership quality. Ragland is a natural leader, and can bring that quality to any locker room and defensive huddle. This is great as it is an unteachable trait that will help his transition to the NFL because his teammates will support him.
Weaknesses: Ragland's biggest weakness is his speed. Ragland is a big linebacker with immense strength but has a lacking in speed that may limit his pursuit ability in the NFL. This also attests to the next weakness which is the ability to only really fit in a 3-4 system where he can be a the run stuffing blitzer while the other middle linebacker can be the faster coverage player. This limits the teams that will draft him and also limits his upside. His last weakness, is the fact that he tends to hit high and sell out for the big hit. This may have worked in college where he was bigger than everyone, but will not be so effective in the NFL. He will lose a lot of tackles if he does not buckle down on his technique and hit low and wrap up.
Overall: Ragland is a great prospect that can be a great playmaker on any 3-4 team. He can come in and immediately fill the run stuffing blitzer role. He can still cover in a zone blitz scheme but will be beat if asked to man cover someone. If he could lose some weight and add some speed then maybe he can fit into a 4-3 but the best fit for him will be with a blitzing defense that likes big linebackers that will punish linebackers. He fits the mold of a Steelers linebacker. Too bad they are set at that position. He can go to teams like the Falcons, 49ers, Patriots, Bills, and Jets.