TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Reggie Ragland didn’t have to wait too long to hear his named called on Friday.
Ragland was the 41st overall selection in the second round as the Buffalo Bills scooped up the former Alabama linebacker.
“Blue’s my favorite color,” said a smiling Ragland during his interview with the NFL Network.
Ragland was a projected first-round pick, but reports surfaced Thursday morning that some NFL teams had moved Ragland down their draft boards after medical exams revealed the linebacker had an enlarged aorta.
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.
Read what the analysts said about Ragland below:
Traded up and got our guy. #BillsDraft
Welcome to the family, Reggie Ragland! pic.twitter.com/c5W7XuAoHJ
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 29, 2016
NFL Network’s Charles Davis
You get tougher with Reggie Ragland. And don’t forget, he’s been trained in pro-style concepts with Nick Saban and Kirby Smart.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock
I think the bigger issue was weight control. His weight has vacillated all over the place. He’s 247 (pounds). He was 259 at the Senior Bowl. Rumors have been that he was up in the 260s this week. Now, he’s an old-school thumper. A sub-package rusher when ‘Bama got creative, but I mentioned the concerns about weight. Teams don’t want to deal with that for four or five years. Now, having said all that, I love the way this kid plays football. I’ll tell you one thing about these Alabama players: they all showed up at the Senior Bowl with their lunch pails. They practiced hard everyday, and they competed. We’re talking about why guys are sliding, is he a three-down player and can you affect the passing game, but at the end of the day when you draft a ‘Bama player, I believe you know what you’re getting. Is he a great edge rusher? No. However, Alabama got creative to make him a three-down player, and all I know is that on game day, Reggie Ragland will show up and he will thump you.
ESPN’s Todd McShay
This guy is a war-daddy. I had him as the 18th-best player in this entire draft class. Now, he’s not great in coverage. That’s the reason I think him and Reed and Robinson and the Alabama players slipped a little bit. But he is a heat-seeking missile against the run. The last two years, he started all 29 games — 195 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss. He has a pro’s approach. He plays every single day — practices and games — like it’s the last game of his life, and he is a great tackler. You see him drive through guys and blow up so many plays on tape. He’s actually the only guy I’ve ever seen have a head-to-head collision with (Ohio State’s) Ezekiel Elliott and win. He absolutely put him on his back when they went head-to-head in a phone booth. I really like this football player.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr.
You don’t want him covering a running back, but he can certainly get the job done in a zone. He had some really good players in front of him. When you think about Alabama with Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower, C.J. Mosley, now comes Reggie Ragland. He’s a thumper, he’s old school and he’s a throwback. … He’s not Ray Lewis, but he’s a guy that can be the leader — an inspirational leader who gets that defense where it needs to be. My question is can he keep his weight at a manageable level?
Reggie is a player that we would have taken at 19. When he was still there, we made an effort to go and get him. pic.twitter.com/ri2S9zSvS5
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 30, 2016