“Who? They could have picked that guy in the second or third round!”
That was one of many reactions from Detroit Lions fans on Thursday night when the team selected Arkansas center Frank Ragnow with the 20th overall pick. The selection was so unexpected that among the 1,200+ mock drafts that our own Kent Lee Platte tracked over the past year, only one had the Lions taking Ragnow in the first round.
But if your criticism of the pick was that the Lions reached for him, two other franchise’s scouting departments completely disagree with you.
According to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, the Cincinnati Bengals, who were on the clock after the Lions’ selection, were prepared to take him next:
A league source tells me Bengals were planning to draft Ragnow at No. 21. Bengals beat writers were all over that possibility with their mock drafts earlier this week. New England was also interested. Both teams drafted interior o-linemen shortly after Lions.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) April 27, 2018
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press corroborates this report, and even throws an extra curveball in there.
“Both the Cincinnati Bengals, who picked 21st, and the New England Patriots, who picked 23rd, had Ragnow as a top target,” Birkett confirms. “And the Patriots tried to move up in front of the Lions to get their man.”
Yep, the Patriots—a team that almost never trades up—were so interested in grabbing Ragnow that they attempted to jump two center-needy teams.
So if you want to argue that Ragnow was a poor pick because it was too early for the interior offensive lineman, there are now at least three team’s scouting departments—filled with talented individuals who do this for a living—that completely disagree with you. Now it’s on Ragnow to prove all of them right.