The Detroit Lions have their third OTA practice on Thursday—their first open to the media. In the past few years, this has been the first opportunity for fans and media to see where the Lions’ first-round draft pick will fit into the equation in their respective rookie seasons. Taylor Decker took all his reps at left tackle from Day 1. Same with Jarrad Davis at the middle linebacker position last year.
However, it appears that new head coach Matt Patricia will be bucking that trend with his first-round pick Frank Ragnow. In a press conference prior to Thursday’s practice, Patricia said that no decision has yet been made on Ragnow’s full-time position.
“Definitely no decisions,” Patricia said. “We’re obviously trying to put everybody in a bunch of different positions. You’ll see guys all over the place today in a bunch of, maybe, positions they didn’t play in the past or what, theoretically, on paper it says that they should play.”
At Arkansas, Ragnow certainly had position versatility. He played nine games at center his freshman year, 13 games at right guard in 2015, 12 at center and one at guard his junior year, and finished his career by starting seven games at center his senior season before suffering a season-ending ankle sprain.
Throughout rookie minicamp and the first few OTA practices, we’ve seen the Lions utilize this versatility already. At minicamp, there were pictures of him taking reps at center and video of him at left guard with the No. 1 offense. Thanks to OTA multimedia provided by the team, we know that Ragnow has taken reps at both left and right guard positions during this week’s practices.
Patricia said, at this point in the offseason, the team is more focused on learning scheme and terminology before making a definitive decision on where players like Ragnow will fit in.
“We’re not in game-plan mode,” Patricia said. “We’re just kind of in a learning mode, in a fundamental mode. So we’re just trying to see how much they can handle in different spots.”
So as OTAs open to the media today, we’ll see Ragnow and several other players utilized in several different roles. Based on what Patricia said on Thursday, it’ll be important not to read too much into that until the players—especially the rookies—feel comfortable under their new coaches and schemes.