MOBILE, Ala. — Reggie Ragland has a sense of bravado about him as he prepares for the 2016 Senior Bowl, perhaps even more than the swagger a national title and Consensus All-American honors can provide.
After discussions with his father and agent, Ragland decided to use the week’s practices prior to the Senior Bowl on Saturday to execute a change from inside linebacker to outside. It’s a move fraught with peril. If Ragland stutters, and if he doesn’t show up this week at a near All-American level, he could fall on some NFL draft boards.
The risk from taking that chance is worth the reward, Ragland said Tuesday morning after he officially weighed in at 259 pounds and measured just north of 6-foot-1.
“I don’t want any doubts about me playing in coverage or in pass-rush,” said Ragland on why he pushed for the move to outside linebacker. “I want to show that I can play it all.”
Ragland will go through his first practice at outside linebacker Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. ET. If successful, Ragland said he’ll have excelled in pass-rush drills, dropped into coverage “the right way” and, most importantly, not had “any mental busts out there.”
He’s not expecting the transition to the outside to be terribly difficult. He dropped into coverage playing the “Buck” linebacker position at Alabama. That experience — and the success that has come with it — have given Ragland all the confidence he needs.
“Yeah,” Ragland responded to whether he felt he was already an NFL-caliber, three-down linebacker. “I feel like I can play it all. That’s why I’m here to show everybody that I can.”
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