Lions center Frank Ragnow rightly lands on list of overlooked players

Frank Ragnow is one of the best centers in the NFL, if not the best, but it's correct that he is underappreciated on a broader scale around the league.
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At times last season, it felt impossible Lions center Frank Ragnow could be on the field, let alone playing at the high level he was (Pro Football Focus' No. 1 center). His list of injuries, added to the ongoing management of a toe issue, made for quite a listing on Friday injury reports every week. But he only missed two games, as a huge symbol of the grit culture Dan Campbell professes.

As good a player as he is, and he doesn't appear to be retiring anytime real soon, Ragnow is also a good guy off the field. He was the Lions' 2023 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year, via his work with his Rags Remembered Foundation, which uses outdoor activities (he's an avid outdoorsman himself) to help children and families who have lost a loved one. Ragnow's dad Jon died suddenly due to a heart attack in 2016, spurring him toward a charitable cause in his father's honor.

The sheer nature of the center position makes it an unglamorous gig (look no further than Jason Kelce's role in the Eagles' "Tush Push" play). The Lions' offensive line is regarded as the best in the league, and even as the literal centerpiece of the unit Ragnow can be broadly easy to overlook.

Frank Ragnow belongs on list of overlooked players

Dan Parr of recently did a list of players to root for from each NFC team. Ragnow was the guy for the Lions.

"All Ragnow does is buckle his chin strip and perform at an elite level year after year, often playing through injuries -- including a throat fracture a few seasons ago, which sounds scary and excruciating. Instead of bowing down to him all offseason, some folks had the nerve to speculate after the Lions’ NFC Championship Game collapse that he might be retiring, which did not sit well with Frank.....Despite being PFF’s highest or second-highest graded center in three of the past four seasons and a charitable person off the field on top of that, Ragnow still doesn't get the widespread respect he deserves. I’m rooting for that to change, pronto."

The Lions, Lions' fans and those who watch football on even a slightly deeper level know and appreciate Ragnow's work. His toughness is unparalleled, and operating as physically compromised as he was at times last season he was still better than most of his position peers. But there's room for him be better-known and get more "widespread respect", and Parr nailed that notion.


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