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Breaking Down Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland

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Mark Tyler breaks down Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland, and looks at how his game translates to the NFL

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland has been a player who some have projected to the Washington Redskins with the 21st overall pick in the first round. I have been a little critical of Ragland's play for a few reasons. First, I feel he was protected in that defense by the best front in all of college football. Second, I feel he doesn't have the fluidity needed at the next level to excel in coverage. And finally, I don't think he's as athletic a player as is required in our 3-4 defense.

I have been breaking down film of many prospects starting in November of last year, and I have done a lot of research on Ragland, but because of some recent projections, I was forced to go back and re-evaluate my assessment on him.

I chose to focus on three different games from the 2015 season. I chose the Alabama vs Texas A&M game, because A&M runs an open spread offense, and I wanted to see how he played against this look. I then chose the Georgia game, because Georgia tends to be a bit more traditional pro-style offense. Finally, I looked at the Tennessee game, because the Vols incorporate a bit of both styles into their offense.

There were other games I looked at as well, such as the Wisconsin contest, where I though Ragland played his best game of the season, but I also took into consideration that Wisconsin was not a very good team, and their style of offense played to the defensive strengths of Alabama. Another contest I focused on was the National Championship game, but the offense of Clemson really negated the effectiveness of Ragland, so I chose not to profile that game in my article.

Below are some of the issues I see when I try to project Ragland at the next level. Now, don't get me wrong, the kid made some tremendous plays, and I refer to these as "splash plays", however I like to focus a lot on the "nuts and bolts" of the position, so below, you will see some of my critiques on where I feel his game struggles.


vs Texas A&M:


:40 mark - has coverage on TE coming out of the backfield(something we see a lot in the NFL). Late on his break, easily leaving TE open in the flat. Ball was poorly thrown, but in the NFL, that's a catch and run.


1:37 mark - slow read on the speed-option, takes poor angle, and is cut off by the offensive tackle.

1:56 mark - doesn't attack the guard who is coming out to block him. Absorbs the block instead of taking it on. Gets sucked too far inside and doesn't take appropriate angle to the ball carrier.

2:13 mark - here we see him as an edge rusher. Not sure if his job is simply contain in case of a roll-out, but he shows no urgency to get to the QB, with no ancillary pass-rush moves.

2:37 mark - late recognizing play. Does not attack the line of scrimmage, instead sits back and lets an offensive linemen get into his body.

5:30 mark - slow to recognize jet sweep, and lets two offensive linemen get into his body and drive him back.

7:41 mark - slow read on a blast play out of pistol formation. Lets guard get to his body and drive him 5 yards deep.

8:56 mark - caught sitting against the read-option. Gets blasted and driven back by offensive tackle.


vs Georgia:

2:48 mark - shoots gap on zone read and misses play in backfield.

2:59 mark - slow to read on inside trap play. Lets offensive linemen take him 5 yards backwards.

3:11 mark - can't get off block on run play. Lets offensive linemen drive him out of bounds.

5:08 mark - lines up as outside pass rusher. Shows no pass rush moves, and is taken to the ground by offensive tackle.

5:40 mark - lines up again as outside pass rusher and is neutralized.

6:09 mark - slow reacting to run play, gets blocked by guard, and when he finally gets off block, misses the tackle on RB, who gains an extra 10 yards.

6:24 mark - slow reaction on the outside run. Allows offensive linemen to block him 5 yards down field.

6:47 mark - slow reaction on backside scrape, allows back to get to the second level.

6:57 mark - finally shows a bit of a pass rush, but can't finish on the play.

7:53 mark - poor angle on run play. Allows cutback lane to running back.

8:05 mark - 3rd and short; sits back instead of attacking play. Allows linemen to get into his body and keep him out of the play.


vs Tennessee:

:40 mark - late getting to swing pass to RB in the flat. Misses tackle in open field.

1:08 mark - slow getting to outside run. Allows offensive linemen to cut-block him.

1:18 mark - gets drawn inside. RB bounces it out to the right. Ragland too slow to make play. Gets beat to the corner.

1:27 mark - gets caught up in the mess, and can't get off block. Gets driven 8 yards downfield.

3:00 mark - doesn't show good closing speed at the end of the play to stop QB from getting first down on scramble.

3:55 mark - shows slow feet and reaction when asked to cover in space.

4:03 mark - loses TE in coverage, allowing a big completion.

4:55 mark - gets knocked out of hole by offensive linemen, allowing big gain by the RB.

5:10 mark - 3rd and 1. Allows himself to get blocked out of play, which results in a first down.

5:20 mark - one-on-one tackle in hole, gets dragged 4 yards by RB after contact.

5:25 mark - shows slow reaction, foot speed, and poor angle when asked to cover a slot receiver in the flat.

5:45 mark - lines up as a DE. Comes too far up-field, allowing a lane for the RB to score a TD.

6:38 mark - lines up as DE. Slow getting off the ball. Shows no pass rush.



What I will ask of the readers(and this won't be as easy as simply reading a post and responding), is to point out some of the positives from these three games, and post them at their marks in the respective games. Our goal here is to see if Ragland's positives outweigh his negatives, and discuss how his game can translate to the next level; and more specifically, the Redskins.