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Detroit Lions draft center Frank Ragnow

The Detroit Lions had an opening along their offensive line, and they've filled it with the selection of Arkansas center Frank Ragnow.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said after the pick that Ragnow has position versatility having played both center and guard at Arkansas. He considers Ragnow an "interior offensive lineman," and will wait to see where he lines up.

"Productive player in the SEC," Quinn said of Ragnow after the pick. "Three-year starter along the offensive line. Played multiple positions. A tough football player. Position versatility. Smart guy. Hard worker. Everything we're about is kind of what he is.

"We got some word from a few teams after us that they were interested in him as well, so I think the time was right to pick him."

Ragnow was the nation's top graded center by Pro Football Focus as both a junior and senior. He was a three-year starter and team captain, playing in 42 games with 33 consecutive starts.

Speaking with Ragnow via conference call after his selection by Detroit at No. 20, he actually seemed a bit surprised to be a Lion.

"To be honest I was really surprised," he said.

"They actually mentioned on the phone that they really tried to keep (their interest in me) under the radar. I was very surprised but I'm so, so, so excited to be a Detroit Lion."

Ragnow said the only contact he had with the Lions in the pre-draft process was a during an interview at the Combine.

"I think he was a guy that was pretty clean through the process," Quinn said. "I didn't really feel like we needed to do a whole lot of extra work on in terms of a visit here or private workout or any of those things."

Ragnow mostly played center the last two seasons, but did play 15 career games at right guard, which gives him some position versatility. With only 46 players dressing on game day, and only seven offensive linemen, Quinn values that with those players upfront.

View photos of center Frank Ragnow.

Ragnow saw action in 2,603 offensive snaps, and never allowed a sack in his four-year career, per Arkansas statistics. Prior to a season-ending high ankle sprain in the seventh game of 2017, he only missed 43 offensive snaps since becoming a permanent starter as a sophomore in 2015. Ragnow said he had routine surgery on the ankle and is back to normal functions.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia began his coaching career on the offensive side of the ball with the offensive line. He knows how important the position is.

The Lions ranked last in the NFL in rushing last year, Matthew Stafford was sacked the second most times in the league (47), and Detroit started 11 different combinations along their offensive line.

"We got a guy that's smart, tough football (player) that can help us run the ball and help us protect our quarterback, and someone that can play a couple different positions inside, so we're excited," Patricia said of the pick at the Lions Miller Lite Draft Party.

"This is a guy that (has) great traits, great character, hard worker, everything that we're about. Blue-collar type of guy that we know is just going to make us tougher up front."

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