2016 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland

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As you should know by now, our attention has now shifted to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in.

In this profile, we’re breaking down inside linebacker Reggie Ragland.

#19 Reggie Ragland/ILB Alabama: 6’2 232

The Good

– Ferocious, physical player, who is at his best downhill and an impact run defender/tackler
– Explodes as a tackler, uncoils his hips and delivers a blow, capable of stopping running backs momentum almost immediately
– Can see film study translate to field, diagnoses quickly and is sound in his run fits, rarely out of position, sifts through trash and finds the football
– Strong hands, a forceful and reliable open field tackler
– Has upper body strength to take on lineman working towards the second level, not easily pushed around or washed
– Played end in subpackage situations and proved to be a successful pass rusher with a variety of moves, can dip/rip but also have ability to convert speed to power with a potent bullrush
– Coverage liabilities a bit overblown, not a strong suit but can carry the seam, and does well as underneath hook/zone defender, capable of using strength to reroute receivers
– Played against NFL’s toughest competition, SEC pedigree, and a decorated career when given the opportunity
– Likable and humble personality, should do well in interviews
– Hungry, competitor, and appears to have desire all players need

The Bad

– Straight-line speed and lateral quickness are only average, has trouble on the perimeter and in open grass
– Has to continue to improve on using his hands more efficiently to work off blocks in the run game
– Won’t be able to carry every coverage assignment, better in zone drops than he is in man, fair to wonder how he’ll handle the frequent spread, 11 personnel that he didn’t even see that often in the SEC


– Two year starter, 29 career games
– 2015: 102 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 FF
– All-SEC First-Team by press and coaches and named conference DPOY
– Replaced graduated C.J. Mosley in starting lineup in 2014 at WILL linebacker, moved to MIKE in 2015
– Team-high 11 kick coverage tackles in 2013
– Four star prospect out of high school, chose Alabama over Auburn and Florida

Tape Breakdown

Ragland is going to be one of those players every team is going to love, and it’s only a question of what team will fall for him the hardest. He’s a ‘Bama kid and you know he’s the type of guy that’s going to want to destroy you.

When you see Wisconsin vs Alabama pop up, you kknow you want to check it out. Power offense versus a top defender. Watch Ragland meet the running back in the hole, uncoil his hips, and drive the runner back.

We see it again with a solo, monster smack on the Tennessee quarterback.

It’s that ability to change direction, get downhill, and deliver a blow that makes me love Ragland. He’s a great athlete in the sense that he’s explosive with a powerful lower half. He just isn’t going to do a phenomenal job downfield and in a lot of space.

He’s also lined up as a pass rusher at right end in some subpackage situations and has shown to be a positive pass rusher. Watch him bull rush left tackle John Theus, also a senior, into the pocket, collapsing it and creating the sack, even if Ragland doesn’t get credit for it.

He can win in other ways as a pass rusher, too. Dips under the Badgers’ left tackle and has the flexion to corner and get upfield.

One negative. You can see the lack of speed out on the perimeter, unable to reach the back on this swing pass, missing the tackle.

But overall, I find few negatives in his game. At the Senior Bowl, he spoke humbly and deflected praise to others, calling C.J. Mosley the smartest player he’s ever been around, but told stories of him hitting long home runs as a 12 year old and being able to dunk a basketball since 6th grade. During media day, one of the TV crews had him dribble a basketball and he took it in stride with a big smile. Obviously, me and him aren’t best friends, but from the little I was able to gather during my time in Mobile, he’ll be well-liked and respected by every team.

I love the fact he called Phil Savage and talked him he wanted to play outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl to try and show scouts he can rush the passer. It doesn’t even much matter to me how successful he was – it was marginal, at best – I just love a guy wanting to compete and show something different.

He is going to be forced to play in space more often in the NFL than what he probably did in the SEC, seeing 11 personnel more often, but again, I don’t think he’s a terrible athlete that you can’t put on the field without total liability. If 29 year old Lawrence Timmons can do it, if Vince Williams (I believe anyway) can do it, then Ragland certainly can, too. Just don’t make him be your deep hole, Cover 2 linebacker.

Clearly, the Steelers don’t have the most pressing need at the position, but because of Timmons’ mileage, Ryan Shazier’s injury history, and Ragland’s potential versatility, I can see Pittsburgh falling for this guy. The board is muddy at 25, we’ve seen it go in different directions, and if there isn’t a player that fills a position of need that jumps out, seeing them take Ragland wouldn’t shock me one bit.

Projection: Top 20

Games Watched: vs Wisconsin, at Georgia, vs Tennessee, Senior Bowl

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About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Big White

    For all the Depotheads out there who want to throw Timmons to the scrap pile, this is your man. Heck of a player who performs in front of 80,000 every Saturday and is a day one starter for whomever drafts him.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Great against the run but question coverage skills. Don’t we still have Vince Williams? I am sure there are differences but that is certainly what this summary reminds me of.

  • 58Steel

    Love Ragland. Want him as the successor to LawDog. Man, does he know how to lay the wood . Maybe not as valuable in today’s game as he would be 20-30 years ago, but his ability as a pass rusher helps. Between Ragland and Garnett for me in the 1st (more likely Garnett is there than Ragland. With the latest update on Jaylon Smith, expect Ragland to be the 2nd LB taken).

  • PittsburghSports

    VW is gone. He was pissed when we drafted Shazier and he’s still pissed he doesn’t get much playing time. He’s gonna play out the year, hit free agency and never look back.

  • PittsburghSports

    How do you pass him up at 25. Not sure it’s smart to draft ILB or NT with all the holes we have, so I hope some team takes the decision out of our hands.

  • SFIC

    Jaylon Smith is probably the best
    player in this draft but due to injury which might have him missing this season. Would be tough to pass on him.

  • Alex Kozora

    Injury sounds super serious. Nerve damage. The recovery of those players are a toss up. Actually pretty easy to pass on him.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I see him as an inside guy only. He will probably go somewhere between 22-27. Good player.

  • SFIC

    It will be interesting to see if the medical report gets leaked. If it turns out bad, will it be worth he risk taking him in 2? 3? 4?…..

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I could definitely see that happening. Could probably land a starting job on the right team.

  • Mario Vignetti

    Timmons played on the outside at FSU.

  • Ju

    Idk why but every draft profiles published by you Alex, I have some trouble whith gifs. Anyone have the same pb?

    As for Ragland, I am wondering if he could be in discussion for 3-4 OLB spot because I love this guy. ^^