The Detroit Lions have an All Pro candidate on the team in 2020 but it’s likely not who you expect
After a disappointing 2019 season that ended with the Detroit Lions picking third in the 2020 NFL Draft, fans are looking for anything to be optimistic about for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. There are more of those than the Lions are being given credit for, such as what the offense can look like with a healthy Matthew Stafford all year. The defense has also gained more valuable depth and, despite losing cornerback Darius Slay, is looking to be much improved in 2020 as well.
However, something many people are overlooking is just how much of an impact player center Frank Ragnow is for Detroit. Ragnow was among the top centers in 2019 in the NFL despite not getting his fair share of attention. He was a good pass blocker and excellent run blocker, improving throughout the season in most aspects of his game.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave him an overall grade of 74.9 in 2019, which was the sixth-highest grade given to centers. If he can improve on his already solid pass blocking, then there’s no telling how good Ragnow can be, as he was also the second-best overall run-blocking center in the NFL last year.
Looking into a few more specific numbers, in 996 snaps played in 2019, Ragnow was penalized just five times total. He also gave up a limited number of sacks, allowing his quarterback to be taken down just twice all season.
Frank Ragnow deemed Detroit Lions’ most underrated player by SI
Ragnow was recently given the title of the Most Underrated Lion by Sports Illustrated journalist Connor Orr. The Lions’ starting center has been criminally untalked about by the national media but is starting to get his due attention. Orr wrote the following about Ragnow and why he is such a valuable asset for the Lions,
"“I thought Brandon Thorn over at Establish the Run has done a great job of illustrating Ragnow’s unique athleticism and how it allows the Lions to scheme up some of their runs. Ragnow is underrated because he can star at multiple positions. The Lions ran up the middle behind center more than only three other teams in the NFL last year.”"
Ragnow’s aforementioned “unique athleticism”, combined with his immense size (6-foot-5 and 311 pounds) and strength give the Lions a core anchor for their offensive line. His abilities allow him to keep Stafford free of pressure and open up running lanes for his backs on a regular basis, something rookie runner D’Andre Swift will appreciate.
The Lions stand-out has all the potential in the world and is very close to being nationally considered as a tier-one center in the NFL. If the Lions can put together a note-worthy season and Ragnow can raise his pass protection to the standards that his run-blocking is currently at, then there is every chance in the world that Detroit fans see their very own center sitting atop the All-Pro list once the 2020 season comes to a close.