TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Former Alabama star Reggie Ragland was drafted No. 41 overall by the Buffalo Bills during the second round of the NFL draft on Friday. Ragland was on hand in Chicago to hear the announcement himself, along with former Crimson Tide teammates A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed.
Ragland led Alabama and finished among the top-10 SEC tacklers with 102 (60 solo) last season. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and was also tabbed as a unanimous All-American.
With the NFL moving more toward pass heavy attacks, nearly every player on defense is being asked to cover opponents in space.
At Alabama, Ragland excelled during his two years as a starter. But coming out of college, scouts wondered if Ragland could be an every-down linebacker.
Throughout the pre-draft process, Ragland turned heads with his speed and athleticism. Ragland also spent time working as a pass rusher for scouts, particularly at the Senior Bowl.
During Alabama’s pro day, Tide coach Nick Saban said Ragland could surprise some people with his pass-rushing ability at the next level.
“Reggie is a really good athlete. He’s got great size. He can thump you,” Saban said in March. “He’s got a lot of lower body explosion and power, but yet he’s a good player in space. He’s very athletic. He’s very instinctive. And he’s got some pass rush abilities, which we didn’t really develop here because he didn’t play that position for us and we had other guys who sort of did that pretty well for us. I think that’s an area that people will be surprised and how they’ll be able to develop him as a pass rusher as well.”