Top pick of Lions' playoff opponent draws flattering comparison to Frank Ragnow

The Buccaneers got an up close look at Frank Ragnow last season, and their first-round pick has drawn a comparison to the Lions' center.

Criticism of picks like that has really subsided over the years, but it was against the grain when the Detroit Lions took center Frank Ragnow No. 20 overall in the 2018 draft. It has also worked out, as Ragnow has made three Pro Bowls and earned Second Team All-Pro honors twice in six seasons.

Ragnow battled a litany of injuries last season, adding other maladies to an ongoing toe issue. But he still earned a trip to the Pro Bowl, and was Pro Football Focus' top-graded center. Imagine if he was 100 percent healthy, or even close to 100 percent healthy.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got an up-close look at Ragnow twice last season, in Week 5 and in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Ragnow added to his resume of toughness in the playoff game, suffering a sprained knee and ankle after being rolled up on at the end of a play. He did not miss a snap, and after the game he basically shrugged off the addition to his list of injuries.

"To me, the pain, I’m not trying to sound like some brute tough guy here, but I was just more frustrated than anything with the fact that it’s just, again, you know?" "It was tough. But it was worth it.”

Buccaneers' first-round pick draws flattering comparison to Frank Ragnow

With the 26th pick in this year's draft, the Buccaneers took Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton. Many projected him as a guard in the NFL, but he played left tackle over his last three college seasons and he started his college career as a center. Center is where Tampa Bay plans to have him his NFL career.

Mike Sando of The Athletic did a roundup of reactions to NFC draft classes. Two executives praised Tampa Bay's selection of Barton, with one offering a comparison to Ragnow.

"If Graham Barton is going to be a starting center for 10-12 years, how can you not do it? Was Frank Ragnow a bad pick for the Lions?”

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even if the rest of that Oscar Wilde quote has a negative bite to it, the Buccaneers would probably like to imitate how well the Lions' pick of Ragnow has gone (leaving out all the injuries) if Barton stays at center. It just happens that an anonymous executive has offered the direct comparison.


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