Ragland, an inside linebacker for the Chiefs for the past three years, never lived up to his draft status. In fact, he was traded after only one season with the Buffalo Bills—a season he didn’t even end up playing due to a torn ACL in training camp.
In Kansas City, Ragland began with a significant role and was a full-time starter for two seasons. However, in 2019, his role was scaled back. He started off as a gameday inactive for the first two games, but eventually worked his way back into the lineup. Ragland ended up starting only seven games for the Chiefs, and they obviously let him walk in free agency.
In Detroit, Ragland will get a third chance to spark his career. He has the kind of body type that the Lions love—6-foot-2, 252 pounds—and he comes from a college program this coaching staff respects (Alabama). He’s a run stuffer first, but has struggled in coverage at the professional level.
He will likely push Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones for some playing time in training camp and could be the competition this team needs.
In addition to Ragland, the Lions are also signing former 49ers linebacker Elijah Lee, per Justin Rogers. Lee was drafted by the Vikings in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, but didn’t end up making their 53-man squad. The 49ers poached him from the Vikings’ practice squad and he had been on and off San Francisco’s roster since.
During his three years in San Francisco, Lee made 38 game appearances, six starts, and tallied 76 tackles. Most of his contributions over that period have been on special teams, where he’s logged at least 230 snaps in each of his past three seasons.