Detroit Lions prioritizing long-term extension for Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow

ALLEN PARK – Almost no one would have thought that the Detroit Lions would pick Frank Ragnow in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. All these years later, the Detroit Lions cannot imagine life without him.

General manager Brad Holmes has already exercised Ragnow’s option for the fifth year for the 2022 season, but said Saturday night he was prioritizing a long-term extension for the Pro Bowl Center.

“It’s extremely important. We already see it as a long-term piece and it’s a fundamental piece because Frank is the kind of guy who plays the game right, ”said Holmes. “He is everything we are looking for and what we want as a Leo. I will never forget the first time it became known that I got the job. Frank got in touch immediately. I said to him, “Man, you are a huge fan and you are playing the game right.”

“So very important to get it done. I am not going to comment on the schedule now – that would be a little premature – but we are not going to sit back and wait for it. “

Ragnow was a stealth choice for the Lions in the 2018 draft. Then-general manager Bob Quinn held the 20th overall victory and liked Ragnow so much that he tried to hide his interest by not contacting the former Arkansas All-American during most of the design process. And it worked. Nobody had the Lions who captured Ragnow – not a single major or minor design projected a choice – and that includes even Ragnow himself.

“To be honest, I was pretty surprised,” Ragnow said on the phone that evening from his home in the Minneapolis area. “You actually mentioned on the phone that you were really trying to keep it under the radar, your interest in me, and I was very surprised.”

Quinn turned out to be absolutely crazy about Ragnow. He had a solid rookie season on the left before returning to the center in 2019, allowing only one sack and two quarterback hits all year round. In 2020, he officially entered the ranks of the elite. He didn’t allow sacks and only one quarterback hit all year long, and that includes a game against Green Bay on December 13, where he broke his throat in the first quarter. He received national recognition for staying in this game and not allowing even a single pressure against the Packers.

He missed two games because of the injury and was ordered not to speak by doctors when he was told he had been elected to the Pro Bowl. No Lions center has earned this honor since Kevin Glover in 1997.

“I wanted to give my mom FaceTime, and I literally couldn’t speak to my mom. That was the frustrating part of waiting to party with my family because they were all very excited,” Ragnow later said. “But it’s an unreal thing and I’m very grateful for the nomination.”

Quinn is gone now, but Holmes has two eyes too, and it doesn’t take much to see Ragnow’s steady hand in the middle of Detroit’s emerging offensive line. Taylor Decker has had a strong left winger season as the Lions just finished their seventh overall win over Oregon’s Penei Sewell, the best offensive lineman on this year’s draft. Sewell will play the right tackle and pick Detroit in the first round on the bookends in the coming years.

The Lions have already exercised Ragnow’s option for the fifth year in the middle, despite the Pro Bowl nomination raising the price to $ 12.657 million, and now it seems only a matter of time before it goes long-term is in Detroit.

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