Center stage: Frank Ragnow in position to be first Hog picked in NFL Draft

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018
Arkansas offensive lineman Frank Ragnow talks with offensive line coach Kurt Anderson during a game against South Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Columbia, S.C.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas offensive lineman Frank Ragnow talks with offensive line coach Kurt Anderson during a game against South Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Columbia, S.C.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Frank Ragnow, a Minnesota import who developed into one of the nation's best offensive linemen during his three years as a starter, will lead the pack of NFL Draft hopefuls for the Arkansas Razorbacks over the next three days.

Ragnow is considered one of the top linemen available in the draft, which will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, starting tonight at 7 on multiple TV and online outlets.

Ragnow, a 33-game starter at center and guard before suffering an ankle injury that required surgery this season, has a chance to become the highest Arkansas offensive lineman picked since center Travis Swanson went to the Detroit Lions with the 76th pick in the third round in 2014.

Ragnow earned praise for his toughness by playing the remainder of a loss against Auburn on Oct. 21 after suffering his ankle injury in the first quarter.

NFL.com's Mike Mayock ranks Ragnow as the No. 19 player in the draft and the fourth offensive lineman behind Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey, and Iowa's James Daniels. Mayock's ranking puts Ragnow ahead of quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson at Nos. 21 and 22, respectively.

The Razorbacks have had a player selected in 22 consecutive NFL drafts, but they have not had a first-round pick since running back Darren McFadden went to the Oakland Raiders with the fourth pick in 2008.

Ragnow, a first-team All-America pick by Pro Football Focus and CBS Sports, conducted interviews with NFL personnel at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine while rehabilitating his injury. He's since run the fastest 40 time among the center prospects. He heard he ran a 4.98 on his pro day, though the official time wound up at 5.00.


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"I'm going to hold onto that my whole life, that I ran a 4.98," Ragnow said.

Ragnow said his resume is on tape and that his pro day work, which included a personal-best 33.5-inch vertical jump, was to show scouts his ankle was 100 percent.

"The tape doesn't lie, and I think a lot of them know that," he said. "They really trust the tape. A lot of them just wanted to see my ankle. I'm pretty confident with my abilities on the board, IQ wise with football. So getting to show off how I feel like I am post-surgery and everything, I think that was good for them to see."

The list of potential picks for Arkansas is about as light as last year, when Deatrich Wise, Jeremy Sprinkle and Jeremiah Ledbetter were taken in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.

Quarterback Austin Allen, defensive back Henre Toliver and running back David Williams were invited to postseason events, and a handful of ex-Razorbacks have hopes of landing on an NFL roster. Those players are defensive backs Josh Liddell and De'Andre Coley, defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson, linebackers Dwayne Eugene and Karl Roesler, and deep snapper Robert Decker, all of which participated in Arkansas' pro day March 26.

CBSSports.com ranks Ragnow as the No. 33 player overall, the top center and the seventh best offensive lineman. One of its analysts, R.J. White, projects Ragnow will be taken with pick No. 30 by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round.

Ragnow, of Victoria, Minn., and Ohio State center Billy Price had been considered the top two centers available in the draft through the 2017 season, and now both are coming off injuries.

Price suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle that required surgery while bench pressing at the combine. He told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Monday that he has regained a full range of motion.

Price had been projected as a first-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com prior to the injury, but is now the No. 72 prospect and the third-ranked center behind Daniels and Ragnow.

NFLDraftScout.com ranks Ragnow as the 46th best player available in the draft, but a couple of its analysts are not projecting him to be taken in the first two rounds. Rob Rang projects Ragnow with pick No. 78 in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs. Dane Brugler has Ragnow projected as a third-round pick, No. 90 overall, by the Atlanta Falcons.

CBSSports.com ranks Allen the No. 19 quarterback. NFL.com does not list Allen among the top 17 quarterbacks it rated for the draft, meaning it projects the 6-1, 215-pounder from Fayetteville to be a free agent.

In the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, played Jan. 20 in Pasadena, Calif., Allen completed 6 of 9 passes for 75 yards.

Toliver ranks No. 49 among CBSSports.com's cornerback ratings.

Williams is an intriguing prospect after leading the Razorbacks four-man tailback crew with 656 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. The transfer from South Carolina averaged 5.6 yards per carry and impressed scouts at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. NFLDraftScout.com ranked Williams as the No. 38 running back in the draft.

Liddell, a native of Pine Bluff, was rated the No. 43 free safety by NFLDraftScout.com.

Sports on 04/26/2018


WHEN Today, 7 p.m., through Sunday

WHERE AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas


All times Central

THURSDAY Round 1, 7 p.m. (NFL Network, ESPN, Fox)

FRIDAY Rounds 2-3, 6 p.m. (NFL Network, ESPN, Fox)

SATURDAY Rounds 4-7, 11 a.m. (NFL Network, ABC, ESPN)

First-round Hogs

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville players chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft:


2008 Darren McFadden, RB;4;Raiders

2008 Felix Jones, RB;22;Cowboys

2007 Jamaal Anderson, DE;8;Falcons

2005 Matt Jones, WR;21;Jaguars

2004 Shawn Andrews, OG;16;Eagles

2004 Ahmad Carroll, DB;25;Packers

1994 Henry Ford, DT;26;Oilers

1989 Wayne Martin, DE;19;Saints

1989 Steve Atwater, DB;20;Broncos

1984 Ron Farout, DE;15;Jets

1983 Billy Ray Smith Jr.;LB;5;Chargers

1983 Gary Anderson, RB;20;Chargers

1979 Dan Hampton, DT;4;Bears

1978 Steve Little, K;15;Cardinals

1967 Loyd Phillips, DE;10;Bears

1967 Harry Jones, RB;19;Eagles

1962 Lance Alworth, WR;8;49ers

1956 Preston Carpenter, E;13;Browns

1954 Lamar McHan, QB;2;Chi.Cardinals

1948 Clyde Scott, HB;8;Eagles

1940 Kay Eakin, HB;3;Eagles


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