ESPN's roll out of 2023 positional rankings, based on polling of NFL players, coaches and executives, has been kind to the Detroit Lions with safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and right tackle Penei Sewell landing in the top-10 at their positions.
Centers and guards were combined in the top-10 ranking released by ESPN on Sunday morning (subscription required). Lions center Frank Ragnow came in at No. 10 on the list, and he's the No. 3 center behind Jason Kelce and Creed Humphrey.
An anonymous player had comments about Ragnow.
"He looked more like himself as the year went on,” an anonymous NFL player said. “He was elite before the injury and got back to that place. He’s a great communicator at the line, makes all the calls, plays with leverage and physicality.”"
Frank Ragnow battling significant injury while maintaining lofty place among his peers at center
The aforementioned injury is one we know about very well. Ragnow missed 13 games in 2021 with a toe injury, and played much of last season with a separate injury to the same toe on his way to being voted in as a Pro Bowler. He has acknowledged it's something he'll deal with until further notice, with surgery not an option in his mind.
At his skeet shooting charity event back in May, Ragnow told reporters he has "the most severe degree turf toe."
"It’s a deal where it’s kind of inoperable, so it’s kind of something that we’re trying to navigate,” Ragnow said. “Manage. But hopefully, its not going to be near to the altitude of last year where it was like brutal.”"- Frank Ragnow, via the Detroit Free Press
"(So) it would have to be an experimental procedure to get that done and that’s not something the NFL O-linemen are in the business of,”""
Ragnow earned a Pro Bowl selection and was Pro Football Football Focus' fifth-highest graded center last year (77.9). Imagine if he was completely healthy, or something close to it, and not "best friends" (as he described it, however tongue in cheekily) with the Lions' training staff as he manages his toe issue.