Bills draft Ragland in second round

NFL Buffalo

The Bills kept adding to their defense on Friday. 

Buffalo traded with the Bears to move eight spots from 49 to 41 and selected Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland with their second pick in the 2016 draft. 

Chicago received Buffalo’s 4th round pick in 2016 and 2017 in the deal. 

Ragland was projected to be a late first round pick in many places. The Bills think they got great value nabbing him with the 41st pick. 

“We would have taken him at 19,” Bills GM Doug Whaley said. “So, when he was still there, we made a concerted effort to try to go up to get him and lucky for us, we found a trade partner with Chicago. We got two of our guys (Shaq Lawson and Ragland). We would have taken both of them at 19.”

Ragland is known as a run-stopper. Instinctive and smart. 

It’s his measurables that may have knocked him out of the first round. 

He ran only a 4.72 in the 40. The lack of speed has him pegged as an old school linebacker for the three yards and a cloud of dust era of football. 

The Bills don’t care. 

“He’s a winner and he’s a leader. And he’s going to come into that defense and he’s going to bring something to this defense that we need, and that’s just that knowing how to win,” Whaley said. “These last two guys have won national championships or been in national championship games, so we’re bringing in winners. Tough, physical, rough football guys that love to win.”

Ragland actually takes pride in his reputation as a bygone era linebacker. 

“It is a compliment to me because the linebackers back then were very tough, physical guys, they can call out the defenses, and they were smart guys too,” he said. “I am not worried about nobody talking about me. I am just going to go out there and show you I can play.”

Whaley said the process of consummating the trade began early. 

“We contacted every team starting with Cleveland and worked our way down until we found a partner in Chicago,” Whaley said. “As soon as that happened and he was on the board, it was a no brainer.”

Ragland is excited to be a Rex Ryan guy. 

“As a kid I always wanted to play for Rex Ryan,” Ragland said. “Growing up watching him with the Jets, I am just very blessed and thankful for the opportunity.”

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