*Our LB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.


If you have read a few of my 2016 NFL draft scouting reports, you may think I have an irrational hatred of Alabama and Ohio State prospects. I really don't. What I don't like is the fact that obvious average prospects, or even 'good' prospects, are given a huge boost by the fact that they played at either Alabama or Ohio State. It's not fair to the other players in the draft who are just as good, and in many cases better than these Crimson Tide or Buckeyes prospects, but don't get the same media push. It costs these lesser lauded prospects real money (in eventual draft position); it also puts them behind the eight ball entering to the NFL. They have more to prove to teams, because coaches and GMs follow the same mindset as that of the media and analysts.

It's also lazy scouting by professional analysts. I would theorize that because most people have no idea what they're looking at in football scouting, beyond watching highlight reels, so it's just safer to assume Ohio State and Alabama players in 2016 are better than any of the other guys…and if everybody signs off on it, everyone can be wrong or right together. No one's hanging out there on the extreme edge of scouting thoughts; hanging out on the ledge all alone on most player scouting.

We are always out on that ledge, and being proven right more than nationally accepted experts, so I have no problem making the next statement – Reggie Ragland is an overrated inside linebacker prospect. He's getting that unfair Alabama boost.

It's not that Ragland is a bad NFL prospect. He's absolutely a legit NFL player. He's just not hands-down the best ILB prospect in this draft. He's probably not a first-round talent either.

Besides the whole Alabama thing, there's another advantage Ragland has. When you put on his tape, if you only look at his highlight reel only – you see a very heavy hitter. He's a big, thick human and he hits like a ton of bricks. He's not the greatest tackler I have ever seen; it's just visually…it’s like watching a college ballcarrier running into a brick wall. Ragland doesn't pursue and obliterate ballcarriers all over the field, but when he gets a clean, full-force hit – it looks good, pleasing to the football eye. There's a problem with this. If you're already predisposed to ‘Alabama = great’ on any prospect, and you look at some highlight/cut-up tape, and you see this heavy-hitting masher… then everything the mainstream is saying seems to make sense. However, if you watch every single play from several of his games, you will notice that Ragland is just a good college linebacker, and an average-to-good NFL prospect. Nothing more.

I watch Ragland on tape, and I see him playing kind of a centerfield position in the middle for Alabama. He's afforded the luxury of being surrounded by a ton of talent, where he doesn't have to do much but sit there and react. I've seen better sit-back-and-reactors over the years…it's not like he's amazing at what he does. Too many times, I see Ragland late to the party to make a tackle, and especially having trouble catching up with ballcarriers that are running side to side/east to west. The fact is that Reggie Ragland is an average athlete for an ILB prospect for the NFL. He's not Luke Kuechly. He's not Ryan Shazier. He's not Eric Kendricks. He's not Ben Heeney. Ragland is an average athlete, who has trouble catching up to many talented ballcarriers in college…and his NFL Combine measurables say he'll have that same issue in the NFL. I'm not saying he'll bust, he's just not going to patrol the middle and elevate an NFL defense to a whole other level while embarking on a Hall of Fame career. Ragland is a borderline NFL starter, at best, in my book.

Ragland reminds me of what happened with Landon Collins last year. Big, thick guy…a heavy hitter because he didn't have a ton of responsibility. He could afford to wait and tee off on opponents and make a few highlight reel hits. Because he played for Alabama, everyone assumed he was the best safety in all the draft. Everyone should've seen by the measurables that there was going to be a bit of a problem. That he was just an average athlete, one lending himself to having issues making a huge impact in the NFL – he wasn't going to be able to chase down ballcarriers, nor cover them in the pass game like NFL teams would hope. You're already starting to see the Giants have regrets on him, and they are considering moving him to a linebacker position. Ragland has that same vibe – Alabama pedigree, big, thick player who has the luxury of wandering, floating around the middle of the field, picking spots to chase plays because of all the talent around him…his college resume and NFL measurables absolutely dictate he'll be average in the NFL. Nothing wrong with average, but some team is probably going to pay a top 20 overall pick for 'average'…when there are just as good/better ILB prospects available much later in the draft.


Reggie Ragland, Through the Lens of Our ILB Scouting Algorithm:

There's one college performance number that jumps out at me with Ragland, but more on that in a moment… What really jumps out at me is the fact that none of his performance numbers jump out at me – which falls in line with what I see on tape. I see a very good college player working on a great team, and he can move around how he desires…he doesn't have to carry the defense. Comparing top ILB prospects in 2016, Ragland is not near the top of most category comparisons. Such as:


Eight or more solo tackles in a game, career:

18 = Matakevich, Temple

  7 = Wright, Arizona

  6 = Martinez, Stanford

  6 = Brothers, Missouri

  2 = Ragland, Alabama

-- This is a sign that Ragland is not a guy who you plop in the middle and expect to make 125+ tackles a year in the NFL, and control the opposing team's run game. However, I think scouts and football analysts are trying to portray him as a potential 'monster in the middle'.


Games with 10 or more total tackles, career:

26 = Matakevich, Temple

18 = Brothers, Missouri

11 = Martinez, Stanford

11 = Wright, Arizona

  5 = Ragland, Alabama



2.0 or more TFLs in a game, career:

11 = Matakevich, Temple

  9 = Wright, Arizona

  2 = Brothers, Missouri

  2 = Martinez, Stanford

  1 = Ragland, Alabama

-- Just a note that shows Ragland is not causing amazing chaos in the backfield. He sits back and waits for things…he picks and chooses spots to move to.


Passes Defended (PDs) in their final season in college:

7 = Ragland, Alabama

6 = Martinez, Stanford

5 = Matakevich, Temple

3 = Brothers, Missouri

0 = Wright, Arizona (this was in 2014…his PAC-12/National Defensive Player of the Year season)

-- This is a telling number. I see this on tape…Ragland dropping back and just watching for action, or covering a receiver or tight end. His inclination is not going forward toward trouble…it is standing still or backing up in coverage.


Ragland's NFL Combine measurables for speed and athleticism were near the top among ILB prospects, but not 'best' in any, and also consider this is a weak year for athletes at ILB. There is no ‘workout warrior’ here…his measurables are all average/good, athletically for the NFL – not ‘great’.

The Historical ILB Prospects to Whom Reggie Ragland Most Compares Within Our System:

In our system, Ragland is not special. His data and measurables compare him to linebackers taken #120–200+ in NFL Drafts over the years. We do not see anything that tells us Ragland is a future NFL star…but someone is going to draft him as such.

ILB Score









Tackle, Strngth Metric

Speed, Agility Metric















So Florida










Iowa State




















Penn State










Cal Davis






*A score of 8.00+ is where we see a stronger correlation of LBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system, and indicates a greater probability of becoming an NFL elite LB.

All of the LB ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Tackle-Strength Metrics = A combination of several physical and performance measurements. An attempt to classify the LB prospect's ability to stop the run, as well as to gauge how physical the player is, and the likelihood of higher tackle counts in the NFL. All based on profiles of LBs historically.

Speed-Agility Metrics = A combination of several speed, agility, and size measurements...as well as game performance data to profile a LB for speed/agility based on LBs historically. A unique measuring system to look for LBs that profile for quickness, pass-coverage ability, and general ability to cover more ground.

2016 NFL Draft Outlook:

I think Ragland is in the first-round of every mock draft I have ever seen. It's a simple equivocation – he is seen as the best ILB prospect without question, so mock drafters just slam him with a team having a perceived ILB need. I think it's silly, but I have no doubt it will happen for real on draft day. Big guy + Alabama equals first-round every time.

If I were an NFL GM, I'd have no problem with Reggie Ragland on my team…but I'm not paying a top 30–40 price. I see several other ILB prospects that are as intriguing or more intriguing than Ragland, and I can get them later in the draft. Why would I pay a premium for Ragland just because he went to Alabama?

NFL Outlook:   

I think Ragland will play right away in the NFL because it will be assumed that he's greatness waiting to happen, so he'll see snaps and get stats early, and not be seen as a disappointment right away. It will take a few years before people look back and wonder if the high pick was worth it. I don't think Ragland will bust on an NFL team, I just don't think he deserves such a lofty draft pick value. He belongs in the NFL, and he'll do OK. I think he has too many holes in his game to ever be considered really good or great in the NFL. But he belongs, he'll be fine…and he'll be given extra chances because of his draft status.