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NFL insiders rank Frank Ragnow as league’s No. 1 center

At age 25, Ragnow’s future is blindingly bright.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Ragnow is no longer a secret to the rest of the NFL. The Detroit Lions center made the Pro Bowl last year, and the Lions rewarded his three years of play with a big four-year, $54 million extension this offseason. Now, he’s earning national praise from experts all over the league.

ESPN has been running a series over the past couple weeks breaking down the top 10 players at each position, based on voting from employees within the league. They reportedly surveyed 50 people, ranging from league executives to scouts and players. On Sunday, they revealed their collective list for the top 10 interior offensive linemen, and Frank Ragnow was fourth on the list.

“He can run the whole line, great communicator, takes pressure off the quarterback, athletic enough to pull, can play guard if you need,” an NFC scout said. “Some centers can’t do that. He’s probably the most versatile center right now.”

Ragnow did, indeed, play guard during his rookie season. However, his career really took off the moment the Lions shifted him back to his college position at center. He ranked sixth among centers with a PFF grade of 74.9 in 2019, and second (80.3 grade) in 2020.

And while he was fourth among interior offensive linemen, he was the league’s highest-ranked center in ESPN’s poll. Maybe even more impressively, among the 50 employees surveyed, every single one had him in their top 10 interior offensive linemen rankings, with the lowest vote being 10th and the highest being second.

At age 25, Ragnow may be the player on the Lions roster with the brightest future.

His fellow lineman Taylor Decker made an appearance on ESPN’s top 10 tackle list, but as an honorable mention. ESPN added a one-word quote from an anonymous NFL employee on Decker, which simply said “underrated.”