Ragnow taking snaps at center to start OTAs

Frank Ragnow is starting his second season with the Detroit Lions at the position where he ended his college career at Arkansas.

After starting all 16 games at left guard as a rookie in 2018, Ragnow has been the No. 1 center in the Lions’ first two OTA practices.

Ragnow likes the move back to center, where he played at such a high level in college that the Lions drafted him in the first round and 20th overall.

With Ragnow at center, Graham Glasgow was working primarily at right guard in the Tuesday OTA that was open to the media. Glasgow started all 16 games at center last year after splitting time at left guard and center his first two seasons.

Whether the position moves are permanent or part of head coach Matt Patricia’s plan to develop versatility on the offensive line, Ragnow likes being the middle man.

“It’s good,” he said. “I played the position in college. I know this is going to sound boring, but you play what you can play. I think it adds value to a person, the more you can do.

“I’m just trying to fit in my role, whatever role they choose.”

Unlike last year, Ragnow is going back to a position he played before. And regardless of where he ends up when the regular season starts, he has the benefit of a year’s experience.

“The transition to left guard was a little more difficult because I hadn’t played it before,” he said. “I’ve played center before, so I guess there’s some familiarity there. It’s smoother. There’s definitely bumps and bruises along the way.”

The center has more responsibility in making calls, which is a part of the job that Ragnow likes.

“That’s the part of the game that I really enjoyed in college – making all the calls,” he said. “Kind of leading the guys.”

The entire offense is adjusting this year under new coordinator Darrell Bevell. That includes the offensive linemen communicating more.

“This offense is so unique,” Ragnow said. “It’s like there are five centers up front. Everybody’s talking. Everybody’s communicating.”

As the quarterback, Matthew Stafford has the steepest learning curve of any player in making the transition to a new scheme. As Stafford put it Tuesday, he’s the coach in the huddle.

Having players in different positions in May is no big deal.

“Honestly, this time of year is perfect to kind of move guys around,” he said. “Graham had a chance to play center and guard in this league before. Frank had a chance to play guard, obviously.

“It’s important for guys in our system – I think you’ve heard it once or twice before – to have position flexibility. Being able to play a bunch of different positions and all that is important.

“It’s good for all those guys to kind of move around inside and figure out down the road where we’re playing guys.”

Regardless of what position he plays, having a year of pro experience is invaluable for Ragnow. That includes relations with people like former teammate T.J. Lang, who retired after last year and visited the team during Monday’s OTA.

“The more you play at any level, the more you do anything, the game slows down,” Ragnow said. “I definitely noticed these two OTAs, it slowed down. Your rookie year is quite a whirlwind. You never really catch your breath.

“T.J. is definitely such a great resource. Before he retired he reached out to all of us to let us know he’s here, no matter what. It’s great to have him around. Whatever he’s offering, I’ll take.”

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