When the Buffalo Bills changed coaching staffs and subsequently shifted their base defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3, it was a given that some people were going to be left out in the cold. One of the players who might have been better suited for the previous regime is a guy the Bills picked in the second round last season, but couldn’t properly evaluate before his rookie season was lost in August.
Name: Reggie Ragland
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 252 lbs.
Draft: Round 2, Pick 41 by the Buffalo Bills (2016)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Ragland is in year two of the four-year rookie contract he signed last year, which counts just over $1.3 million against the cap and rises to $1.85 million over the next two years.
If you’re wondering, Ragland’s lost season counts toward his deal because the injury happened at training camp. When Kiko Alonso was injured back in 2014, the second year of his deal didn’t accrue because the injury happened outside of a team facility on his own time.
2016 Recap: After the Bills traded up in the second round to land Ragland, he lasted about a week into training camp before tearing his ACL. He seems to be back to full strength by now, but it was a lost season nonetheless.
Positional Outlook: Preston Brown has been holding down the starting middle linebacker spot, while the Bills brought in Sam Barrington last week to add some competition up the middle. Ragland isn’t in contention for an outside linebacker role.
2017 Offseason: It hasn’t been a great training camp for Ragland so far. He has yet to even see the field with the first team, and hasn’t been performing all that well with the second team either. Sean McDermott insists there’s a “plan in place” for Ragland, but it’s not all that clear whether that plan is coming to fruition at the moment.
2017 Season Outlook: Even with his struggles and the fact that he was drafted to play a role in a very different defense from the one the Bills are running now, it’d be a surprise to see the Bills cut ties with him this offseason. That said, I don’t know if I’d count on him being an impact player anytime soon.