Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland is expected to miss the season after suffering a torn ACL.
The Bills traded up eight spots in the second round to draft the Alabama star.
Rex Ryan called the injury “very unfortunate”, but is confident the Bills can withstand it.
“I feel good about the guys that we have,” Ryan said. “Zach Brown has been doing a good job and then the addition of (Brandon) Spikes and (David) Hawthorne along with Randell Johnson—I think we have good depth. We have better depth this year than we did last year at that position.”
Ragland was envisioned as an every down linebacker, a rare NFL commodity in the new wide open game of pro football. He may have to be replaced with a combination of guys. Some will stop the run, some better against the pass.
“You can play to strengths of some guys,” Ryan said.
With first round pick already Shaq Lawson expected to miss a significant portion of the season after shoulder surgery, the top the Bills draft will be largely irrelevant in 2016.
Ryan admitted he can’t remember a season where both top two draft picks suffered major injuries in preseason. He’s encouraged by the way his front office has responded.
“The thing I’ve been impressed with was how our scouting department reacted immediately. How Doug (Whaley) immediately had a list, a go-to list, of guys that we felt good about. Did the film study on these guys. We thought that, you know, that they could come in and do a job for us.”
Ragland suffered the injury while at training camp on Friday. He will have surgery to repair the injury.
Rex said Ragland was hurt to have to miss the season.
“He wants to play and show everybody the kind of player he is,” Ryan said. “He wants to show off. He knows he’s an outstanding player. He wants to prove he’s the best linebacker in that draft class, but more than anything he want to be a part of this team and help this team and I think that hurts him more than anything.”