The New York Giants have made a significant investment in trying to rebuild their offensive line in the image of the new regime. Despite that, the front is far from settled.
The only position truly locked down (for the moment) is left tackle. The interior, both guard positions and center, might yet be up for grabs.
Brett Jones filled in well at center, capitalizing on the opportunity presented by Weston Richburg’s concussion. However, he has had previous opportunities derailed by injury and as of this writing he is only on a one-year tender. Likewise neither guard position could be considered “settled”, despite there being players to man the spots.
Fortunately the 2018 NFL draft is rich in interior linemen, including three centers who have the look of legitimate NFL starters. Frank Ragnow hails from a school with a strong history of putting talented linemen in the NFL. Considering the state of the Giants’ line, they almost have to take a look at Ragnow.
- Powerful blocker. Can stand up most defenders, and generally creates movement when playing with leverage.
- Offers decent quickness as a puller, releasing to the second level, or out in space on screen plays.
- Generally reliable pass protector.
- Normally plays with good fundamentals. Wide base, knee bend, and good hand usage.
- Blocked for a varied rushing attack that used man-gap power runs, inside zone, and screen plays.
- Showed marked improvement from 2016 to 2017.
- Played guard all 13 games as a guard in 2015 (sophomore season).
- Occasionally lets pad level rise, resulting in some ugly reps.
- Can be vulnerable to athletic interior rushers.
- Slightly short arms and small-ish hands could fall below some team’s thresholds.
What They’re Saying
SOURCES TELL US
“He’s a tough guy and a leader in that locker room. He’s got the personality that you want your center to have and he’s got good strength. I see him as an early starter in the league.” - NFC area scout
Arkansas is one of the few college programs with a well-earned reputation for putting good offensive linemen in the NFL. Frank Ragnow is going to be the next in that lineage, and should challenge for a starting job as soon as he sets foot in the NFL.
One of the most impressive things about Ragnow is the improvement he showed from 2016 to 2017. He was always powerful, but he obviously put in work to improve his quickness and ability to play in space, and it showed in his game.
Ragnow’s technique and fundamentals are generally solid, and he flashes the ability to use solid angles to wall off defenders as well as strike, gain leverage, uncoil his hips, and drive them back.
He does have some occasional lapses in that technique, and the results tend to be lowlight-reel plays. At 6’5”, his height works against him and defenders can walk him backwards when he doesn’t make a concerted effort to play with leverage. Likewise, he can be beaten by particularly quick-handed or explosive interior lineman, despite his improved quickness over the last two season.
Considering the Giants let Weston Richburg walk in free agency and are left with relatively inexperienced Brett Jones (who is only on a 1-year contract) at center, as well as unsolidified spots at left and right guard, it makes sense for them to draft a lineman who can play both center and guard, such as Ragnow. He should present starting upside and solid value somewhere on the second day of the draft.
The question might be whether Ragnow fits within Dave Gettleman’s athletic thresholds. His 33 ⅛” arm length would be the shortest ever drafted by Gettleman, and he was unable to compete in drills such as the broad jump and 3-cone drill (on which Gettleman also seems to place a premium) because of a high ankle sprain.