How would Reggie Ragland fit in the middle of the Atlanta Falcons’ defense?
The Atlanta Falcons defense needs talent. Areas of need include defensive end, linebacker and safety. Applying more pressure on the quarterback is the No. 1 priority, but the Falcons’ rebuilding unit needs upgrades anywhere it can find it.
Reggie Ragland — an inside linebacker out of Alabama — is a name commonly associated with the Falcons at No. 17 by draft analysts. Could Ragland strengthen the middle of Atlanta’s defense?
Ragland wouldn’t fix one of the three biggest areas of need. He is an old-school, thumping linebacker who is excellent against the run and helps set up third down situations. At this stage, it looks like that maybe his only contribution on the field. Due to a lack of speed and coverage ability, Ragland may only be a two-down player who sits out of obvious passing situations.
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Every team needs a Ragland, but should they spend a first-round pick to land him? Given the fact the Falcons only own five selections in the entire draft, it’s tough to feel comfortable with a move for the Alabama product on day one.
Ragland wouldn’t be the answer to the pass rush woes and he isn’t a guy you can trust to cover tight ends and running backs in the middle of the field. But what could he bring?
Ragland has talent, and the Falcons shouldn’t turn their nose up at any player who can improve the defense. The unit is in a period of rebuild and if a player can help the transformation then it can be considered a good move.
His immediate help would come against the run: Ragland is a hard hitter who has the potential to become one of the best run-stuffing linebackers in the league. He has great instincts and does offer some rush ability, also.
Can Dan Quinn find a role for him in the Atlanta defense? Stopping the run is crucial before you can consider shutting down passing games. Ragland would help strengthen a run defense that has already made huge strides under Quinn.
At this stage, it feels like the Falcons would be better suited going after a pass rusher or coverage linebacker on day one. But Ragland is a talented football player, and one who could upgrade the middle of the Falcons’ defense immediately.