Grading the Detroit Lions 2018 draft class way too soon

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Nick Bawden
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Nick Bawden /
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You may have heard that the NFL draft occurred over the weekend. In case you have not been paying rapt attention, here is a graded summary of how they did.

To be clear, this is too early to definitively judge the draft. This is more of an immediate reaction to how the players selected fit into the roster, and how they fit into their slot within the draft. Three seasons from now, these players will not be the same players they are right now. Some will respond to coaching in a way that makes them much better players than they are today. Other players will stagnate, or even regress from their current ability.

Frank Ragnow: B

I have to get this out of the way. Don’t think that I dislike Frank Ragnow. I just don’t love the value here. It is true that I wanted the Lions to go after an interior offensive lineman in the first round. I feel that Ragnow was the third best option on the interior of the offensive line. This was, however, a loaded class at the interior offensive line positions. He is a legitimate first-round talent. Because of that I have difficulty actually panning the team for making the pick. He isn’t a bad pick. He’s just not a great pick.

Ragnow was the pre-draft darling of the PFF community. He posted the two highest PFF grades ever given to a center in 2016-17. Additionally, he did not give up a single sack in his entire collegiate career. His shotgun snaps are laser accurate, his pass blocking technique is spectacular, he keeps his knees bent, which prevents interior rushers from getting underneath his 6’5″ frame. but he is not a pass blocking specialist.

In the run game, Ragnow is downright nasty. He maintains his technique while on the move. His punch is brutally powerful, often rocking his opponent back on their heels immediately. His almost tackle ready length allows him to recover when an opponent does get an immediate advantage over him. Ragnow ragdolls opponents on a regular basis and puts his opponent in the dirt.

The Lions have solidified their center position, for the long-term with Frank Ragnow. He has the ability to play guard as well as center, but his ability to snap the ball accurately without losing quickness on his first step makes him the best center option on the roster.