Frank Ragnow is somehow not Pro Football Focus' No. 1 center heading into 2024

Frank Ragnow has played a very high level despite injuries, never moreso than last year, but somehow PFF doesn't have him atop their center rankings.
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A toe injury that ended his 2021 season very early will be something Lions center Frank Ragnow deals with for the rest of his career. He added multiple injuries to the list over the course of last season, making his weekly listing on the injury report require a breath to recite and making his body resemble a game of "Operation."

Faint retirement speculation followed Ragnow into the offseason, which he quickly put to bed. Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda has reported this season may be Ragnow's last, which shouldn't be dismissed but also feels pretty unlikely.

To be frank, Ragnow is better at less than 100 percent health than (at least) most of positional peers are at full strength. He was Pro Football Focus' No. 1-graded center last year (88.8 overall), w th the top run blocking grade (91.3) at the position too. In 2022, Ragnow was PFF's fifth-highest graded center (77.9) and in the four seasons he has qualified he has never been lower than No. 6 among centers in PFF grade.

Frank Ragnow somehow not PFF's No. 1 center for 2024

PFF recently put out their ranking of the top-32 centers in the NFL heading into the 2024 season.

Ragnow comes in at No. 2, behind Chiefs center Creed Humphrey.

"A former first-round pick, Ragnow has been fully healthy for the past two seasons and posted a career-high 88.1 grade in 2023 — also the highest among all centers.

"Ragnow has made a name for himself as one of the best run-blocking centers in the NFL since 2018, and his 90.1 run-blocking grade in 2023 marked the second 90.0-plus grade of his career."
-Thomas Valentine, Pro Football Focus

At least in terms of last season, while he did miss only two games, Valentine is stretching the definition of Ragnow being "fully healthy". Just because he answered the bell the way he did, and played at the level he did, doesn't mean he was "fully healthy".

Here's what Valentine wrote about Humphrey.

"Humphrey surpassed Jason Kelce as the game’s best center in our rankings, and with Kelce now retired, Humphrey is the clear best center in the NFL. He allowed just 16 pressures in 2023, and his 78.2 overall grade ranked seventh at the position."

Humphrey was PFF's No. 1-graded center in 2021 and 2022, and he was actually fourth last year when counting the playoffs.

Narrowing to the regular season, according to PFF's data and over two less games, Ragnow allowed just two more pressures (18) than Humphrey did (16).

PFF's tweet asking "Who is the best center in the NFL?" even somehow diminished Ragnow with a smaller photo, giving away it's not him.

Teammate Graham Glasgow noticed, calling out what he saw as "engagement farming."

No offense to Humphrey, but he was not operating with one good leg for stretches last season, nor was he PFF's No. 1 graded center for the season. No. 2 is not a bad place to be in a ranking. But Ragnow could not have done any more, taking everything into account, to be deserving of the top spot among centers for PFF heading into this season.


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