Entering his third year in the NFL, Frank Ragnow is nearly considered a veteran on this team. He’s been in Detroit just as long as most of the coaching staff, and with two new rookie guards in camp, he’ll likely no longer be the youngest guy in the starting lineup.
Last year, we saw Ragnow take a significant step in his advancement. In his more natural position at center, the former Razorback started to look really comfortable and even finished the season as a top-six center, according to PFF grades.
That seems to have already carried over into training camp, as Ragnow looks competent stifling his defensive teammates in practice. He credits that to building his own confidence this offseason.
“This offseason I really tried to emphasize watching other guys and then watching tape of other defenses to develop that confidence, because I believe I’ve got the ability, I just need to develop that confidence,” Ragnow said. “So I’m feeling confident.”
He didn’t just limit his offseason film watching to opposing defenses, he also studied several other centers in the league he respects. Atlanta’s Alex Mack, recently retired Travis Frederick and Eric Wood—three centers he believes not only were among the best in the NFL, but those that match his body type and style of play.
“These are all guys who are more my size that are pretty athletic and obviously have been top tiers at their level,” Ragnow said. “Brandon Linder is another one. And even Garrett Bradbury in Minnesota is doing well. Honestly, I try to watch all of them, because all these guys around the league, they do something. They’ve all go their niche. They’re all very talented because they’re starters at their positions. So I’m just trying to absorb and take what I can from each one of those guys so I can better myself.”
C Frank Ragnow in 2019:— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) August 20, 2020
74.9 OVR (6th among C)
Rank among Cs since 2009 (min 2,500 snaps):
3. Alex Mack
4. Travis Frederick
T-31. Eric Wood
Certainly, some strong players to mold a Center's game after#OnePride https://t.co/NpTwjayKu5
Ragnow is also building confidence going against a veteran talent like Danny Shelton. In early camp reps, he’s done a good job neutralizing Shelton—a man who has nearly 25 pounds on Ragnow. But he believes iron sharpens iron.
“Danny is a heck of a player, and that’s one blessing—a big blessing—with this training camp,” Ragnow said. “He’s going to push me to get better, because he works his tail off, he’s talented, he does a lot of great technique things. So he’s going to make me a lot better. It’s just an honor to work with him, as well.”