One of the biggest position competitions during Buffalo Bills training camp this year will be Preston Brown versus Reggie Ragland for the crown of starting middle linebacker. Preston Brown clearly has the upper hand in this race based on his experience.
Brown played in the 4-3 defense as the middle linebacker in his rookie year under Jim Schwartz and performed well. Unfortunately for Ragland, he never played in a 4-3 in high school or at Alabama under Nick Saban. His ACL injury from 2016 training camp has sidelined him for almost a year, allowing Brown to get all the reps at “Mike” in offseason minicamps. At the moment, all signs are pointing to Preston Brown as the job is his to keep.
Another factor might be Ragland’s ability to play outside. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier told Chris Brown of buffalbills.com that he thinks Ragland could also play the outside linebacker.
“We think [Ragland] could potentially play outside,” Frazier said. “We have a limited sample size based on his rookie season and that was just training camp so you have to look at his college tape and project. Based on our projections we think he could play the middle linebacker position and one of the outside positions.”
Head coach Sean McDermott will always want his best eleven on the field. The possibility of Brown and Ragland on the field at the same time is a good one. As the offseason is nearing its end, this training camp battle will be one you want to watch.