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2016 NFL Draft: Reggie Ragland prospect profile

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Niners Nation's Greg Valerio is back with a scouting profile of Alabama's inside linebacker, Reggie Ragland.

Following the footsteps of exceptional Alabama linebacker stars in Rolando McClain and C.J. Mosley, Reggie Ragland is the latest 'Bama defensive linebacker standout geared to take the NFL by storm. The two-year starter All-American and the Southeastern Conference's Defensive Player of the Year for 2015, is the heart and soul of the Crimson Tide's defense. Playing the Mike linebacker role in 2015 (played Will in 2014), Ragland led the team with 102 tackles, notching 6.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Ragland is a four down all-around complete inside linebacker, and is the best pure inside linebacker (Box LB's) in this years' draft class. A potential high draft selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Ragland remained in school for his senior year fulfilling a promise he made to his mother in earning his degree.

The Basics

School: Alabama
Jersey No.: 19
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 247
Arm: 32"
Hand: 9 7/8"
40 Yard Dash: 4.72 (tied 12th for top performer in the 40 YD Dash)
10 Yard Split: 1.65
Vertical Jump: 31.5"
Broad Jump: 9'8"
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.28 (tied 6th for top performer in 20 YD Shuttle)
3-Cone Drill: 7.55*
Bench Press: 13*
*Pro Day results

How the measurables translate for inside linebackers
When looking at the measurables for inside linebackers, keep in mind of some minimum measurable targets inside linebackers should be expected to target as a minimum result. For the most part, prospects exceeding these minimal targets tend to find success in the NFL.

Inside Linebackers
40 Yard Dash - Minimum Target: 4.80
10 Yard Split - Minimum Target: 1.70
Vertical Jump - Minimum Target: 33"
Broad Jump - Minimum Target: 9'6"
20 Yard Shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.20
3-Cone drill - Minimum Target: 7.20
Bench Press - Minimum Target: 24

Do Your Homework

Watch highlights of Ragland against WisconsinGeorgiaTexas A&MTennesseeAuburnMichigan StateClemsonTexas A&M (2014), and watch a highlight montage featured below:

Pros

  • Superb downhill plugger type of linebacker (dominant in the run game) with an excellent combination of size, physicality, speed, toughness, and strength.
  • Fierce and terrific tackler with quality bulk-ability, easily taking on bigger blockers at the point of attack winning with proper leverage, separating with violent and powerful hands stacking and shedding.
  • Quick to react on cutbacks and displays nice sideline-to-sideline capabilities taking good angles with quick movement breaking towards the ball.
  • Tremendously smart player with a high football IQ, showcases excellent instincts and speed, easily reading run keys and has the play speed (straight-line speed with a burst) to fill up the lanes and track down the football with impressive closing speed.
  • Shows quality ability to play in coverage (ideally in short zones), as well as rushing off the edge with a nice burst and solid hand usage.
  • Strong downhill tackler (thumper) hitting with immense explosion.
  • Scheme diverse projects as in inside linebacker in a 4-3 or a 3-4, as well as the versatility to be an edge rusher when necessary.
  • Brings value on special teams.
  • Displays leadership qualities both on and off the field.

Cons

  • Does not possess the ideal agility, flexibility, and change of direction skills required in coverage.
  • Plays violently and with an aggressive nature causing him to over-pursue plays at times and missing tackles (showed improvement his senior year).
  • Has a tendency to have poor hand technique in stacking/punching opponents allowing them to get their hands inside his chest.

NFL Comparison: E.J. Henderson - Minnesota Vikings

College Stats: Check out Reggie Ragland's stats at Sports Reference College Football.

Round Projection: 1st

Conclusion:

NaVorro Bowman did a superb job coming back from his gruesome knee injury, and expectations are high with the hopes of him continuing to improve next season playing at, or near, pre-injury form. The question the 49ers have is, who plays next to Bowman going into 2016. Gerald Hodges is the likely candidate, where he looked solid late in the season. Michael Wilhoite is still in the picture with the 49ers tendering a one-year contract to the restricted free agent (deadline for restricted free agents to sign their offer sheets - April 22nd), and Shayne Skov, Nick Bellore, and Ray-Ray Armstrong fill out the rest of the position. However, all those players mentioned, with the exception of Bowman, have their respective contracts ending in 2016; therefore, it's highly probable the 49ers will look in the draft to bolster the future of the inside linebacker position.

Reggie Ragland is definitely a first round talent, but I would not consider him a top-ten talent, so drafting him at seven will be a reach, and he will be likely gone when the 49ers pick in the second round. Moreover, we are all well aware Trent Baalke beats to his own drum producing a draft board which tends to be much different than what the consensus, albeit in the draft media, project players to be, so Baalke drafting Ragland at seven shouldn't be surprising, a bit disappointing, but not surprising. The ideal scenario is via trade, gaining extra draft picks moving back, or giving up draft picks moving up. Regardless of the scenario, Ragland would be a great fit next to Bowman immediately strengthening the middle of the field providing a dynamic duo in stopping the run, and some reminiscent Patrick Willis style hits Ragland violently performs when hitting with explosion.