Former Razorback Frank Ragnow never left Detroit Lions' radar

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2018
The Detroit Lions first-round NFL football draft pick Frank Ragnow addresses the media at the team's training facility, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Detroit Lions first-round NFL football draft pick Frank Ragnow addresses the media at the team's training facility, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Frank Ragnow had no idea he was high on the radar for the Detroit Lions.

Ragnow had talked to Lions General Manager Bob Quinn during his time at the NFL scouting combine, like he had with many other general managers. But the team had no followups and didn't work him out individually.

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So when Quinn called Ragnow at his home in suburban Minneapolis during the first round of the draft Thursday night and also put Lions owner Martha Ford and Coach Matt Patricia on the phone, the former Arkansas Razorback was surprised.

Ragnow was also shocked and overwhelmed as he thought of the enormity being taken with the 20th pick of the NFL Draft.

"I started crying right away, then I started feeling excited, then I felt my mom [Marty] crying, then I felt everybody in the room crying," Ragnow told KARE-TV.

Ragnow's mind also went to his father, Jon, who died from a sudden heart attack Oct. 1, 2016, hours after the Razorbacks had beaten Alcorn State in Little Rock.

"I thought about my dad. It's kind of hard to put into words," Ragnow told the TV station.

Ragnow held his introductory news conference with reporters in Detroit on Friday after traveling with his mother, and was again asked about the Lions' phone call, when he said he "basically blacked out" and his father.

"My dad was my best friend," Ragnow said. "I'm sure every kid says that, but my dad ... He got Google alerts. So, if you guys were writing an article right now about me, he would get that Google alert and he'd be the first text to get it.

"He was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, a great dad and my best friend. So, obviously this is tough and he's meant the world to me, and he's the reason who I am today, him and my mom. I'm very grateful for the time on this earth that I had with him and I know that he's watching down and he's very proud of me."

The Lions surprised many by taking Ragnow at No. 20, as the Lions had kept their interest in him low key.

"The first time I watched him play on tape I kind of thought, 'Wow, this guy's a really good player,'" Quinn said on Thursday. "Going back the last couple weeks as we fine-tuned the board and kind of see who was there and who might be available, it was pretty clear that he would probably be there.

Quinn described how the Lions were able to get information on Ragnow, then let it simmer.

"He was a guy that was pretty clean through the process," Quinn said. "He's coming back from an injury that he missed the second half of the season with an ankle. Other than the injury, he was a real, clean prospect that I didn't really feel like we needed to do a whole lot of extra work on in terms of visit here or private workout or any of those things. ... He was a guy we kind of had our eyes on for a while and it kind of worked out that way."

Sports on 04/28/2018

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