Just days after former 2nd round pick Kony Ealy was cut by the New England Patriots, another 2nd round pick is shipped off to a new franchise. The Buffalo Bills experienced a change in their front office this past off-season, and the change brought along a massive shift in the philosophical approach the Bills implement.
This shift is headed by new Head Coach Sean McDermott, who prefers his linebackers to have sideline to sideline speed and dynamic range. Once the Bills started shipping off blue chip players such as Ronald Darby and Sammy Watkins, it felt to be just a matter of time before a depreciating player like Ragland had his name show up on the chopping block.
If I'm Bills my next candidate to trade is LB Ragland. I'd try to salvage whatever I can for that pick before he gets buried on depth chart
— Kyle Crabbs (@NDTScouting) August 11, 2017
Let’s take a look back at Reggie Ragland’s Draft report from the 2016 NFL Draft Prospectus and see where the disconnect came from:
You cannot gauge Ragland’s pro prospects based on a scrapped rookie season; his ACL surgery cost him any chance to play in 2016. But the team’s decision to call the 41st overall selection in 2016 a total wash and trade him so soon isn’t a great omen.
The fact of the matter is Ragland didn’t present a lot of fluidity and transitional quickness, he’s more of a prototype thumper between the tackles. That may have been desirable in former coach Rex Ryan’s defensive gameplan, but it is a dying breed. Ragland’s reputation as a big hitter and a very deliberate scheme fit did him favors with Coach Ryan and former General Manager Doug Whaley, but the rest of the NFL isn’t biting.
The pick swapped for Ragland has since been announced as a conditional pick, which further marginalizes the returns Buffalo was able to land for a player that 16 months ago was nearly a 1st round pick.
The fact that the Bills were able to gather any tangible return for Ragland, who was reportedly on the chopping block after spending time this summer running with the third team defense, is a win. Hopefully the role Kansas City envisions for the second year pro will feature him on early downs and playing forward, much like the Cincinnati Bengals did in stretches for former USC LB Rey Maualuga.
A similar role is the best case scenario for Ragland, but the fact that he possesses a two down linebacker suggests that nothing more should be expected.
A growing trend in the NFL: accepting your losses early. The Patriots did it with Kony Ealy. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did it with K Roberto Aguayo. And now the Buffalo Bills have done the same with Reggie Ragland. Kudos to the Bills for being the only team to get draft capital back.