This years National Championship game between Alabama and Clemson is not only a match-up between two of the best teams in the nation, but it is also a showcase of some of the best talent in the nation. Talent whose name will be called in the NFL draft in April. There definitely will be a fair share of scouts at the game. One of a few possible first round picks is inside linebacker Reggie Ragland of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He is a player that the Bills’ scouts will be watching closely.
Reggie stands at 6’2″ 254lbs and runs a 40 yard dash in 4.71. His teammates call him the “General of Alabama” which is a testament to the type of player he is within the NCAA’s top defense.
Ragland put together a fine 2014 campaign with 93 tackles. Reggie could’ve entered the draft last year, but decided to stay to get his degree. He wanted to be able to hand his degree to his mother and help his team win a National Championship. When you read about this guy he seems like a person with high character. When discussing about his decision to return to Alabama in 2015 he told the Tuscaloosa News :
“I have individual accolades, that’s fine, but I am all about the team. Together we achieve more, so that’s what I am focused on.”
It was a great decision for Reggie to stay. He got an extra year of coaching from a top notch staff and he was able to improve his game. He performed in 2015 when all eyes were on him. He had another consistent season ending with 97 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Reggie Ragland will be a solid player in the NFL for some years, take a look.
He is a phenomenal run stuffer. Ragland reads his keys well and works his way through the gap. He gets skinny and doesn’t allow the lineman to seal him off. The fact that he has played in a similar system to what rex Ryan employs is a plus. Alabama defense uses a 2 gap system. He is capable of reading through the defensive line to his offensive keys.
Takes his read step, avoids the cut block and delivers a knockout shot.
He is a disciplined player. He reads plays well and then executes within the defense. He sees the guards pulling, Ragland stays in front of the first puller until the RB makes his move.
He can play multiple positions. Which is vital to the Bills and Rex Ryan. Look at him playing Defensive end, peeling off and making the interception.
Ragland has the ability to run sideline to sideline. He isn’t the fastest linebacker but he makes up for it with his ability to diagnose plays quickly and beat the player to the spot.
He has shown that he needs to improve his pass coverage. At times he loses his man or is not at the right landmarks in his zone. He will often stare down the Qb for too long instead of getting to where he needs to be.
Has trouble when lineman cut block. Which is surprising because he uses his hands really well.
But if I had to sum up the kind of player Reggie Ragland is with one play, it would be this play. He is lined up over the #3 WR in the slot. He carries him up the field and then passes him off. Turns his eye back to the QB and sees a receiver crossing over the middle. The QB delivers the pass to Mitchell and Reggie erases him with a textbook tackle. He executed his assignment, got to his zone and then made a play.
Alabama is one win away from the title. Although Clemson is a talented team I don’t believe that they will be able to win this game. The win by Alabama will give Reggie Ragland and his teammates the title, and allow him to deliver the other half of his promise to his mother come spring time. His professional football career will begin in April. There is a chance that the Bills may call his name on draft day, so be sure to watch him Monday in the big game.
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