Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland

Detroit Lions sign linebacker Reggie Ragland to help improve run defense

  • Detroit Lions
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • nfl free agency
  • Reggie Ragland
By Travis Steffen March 27, 2020 0 Comment

The Detroit Lions continue to bring in pieces for the second level of Matt Patricia’s defense. The team agreed to terms with linebacker Reggie Ragland.

It continues to be a busy offseason for the Detroit Lions. One position group that the organization seems fixated on in 2020 is the off-ball linebackers. Detroit kicked off free agency by signing linebacker Jamie Collins to a three-year, $30 million contract. It’s yet another piece brought over from the New England Patriots. On Friday morning, the Lions agreed to terms with former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland.

Patricia’s defense has struggled against the run since he took over as head coach in 2018. The team ranked 21st in yards given up per game in 2019, only two spots ahead of their 2018 season. Detroit set out to find linebackers that fit Patricia’s standards with Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland. Weighing 252-pounds, Ragland fits the mold of what Patricia is looking for at the MIKE linebacker position. He’s an old school, thumper style linebacker that is best utilized attacking downhill against the run. His ability to plug gaps in the run game without losing ground will fit a need for Detroit’s defense. He also excels playing as a SAM linebacker in even fronts where he can either set the edge or blitz the quarterback.

Reggie Ragland’s NFL background

Ragland was a second-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2016 drafted by the Buffalo Bills. He suffered a non-contact knee injury during training camp forcing him to miss his entire rookie season. Buffalo saw a regime change in 2017 and ended up trading him to the Chiefs for a fourth-round pick during the preseason. During his first two seasons with the Chiefs, Ragland started 25 of 28 games in Bob Sutton’s defense. Kansas City was expecting Ragland to take a step forward in 2018, but swelling in his knee before training camp hampered him for most of the season.

Under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in 2019, Ragland saw his playing time drop significantly. During the resurgence of the Chiefs’ defense midway through the season, Ragland saw more playing time to help against the run. He started seven games in 2019, hauling in 30 tackles, four tackles for a loss, three quarterback hits, and one fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown. The lack of athleticism to have success dropping into coverage made him expendable in Kansas City.

Detroit will likely utilize him as a two-down linebacker at the MIKE position. Ragland will fill a need on a cheap contract as the Lions continue to try and bring in pieces that fit what Patricia wants to do on defense.

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