Bret Bielema's ability to recruit and develop NFL-caliber offensive linemen was not lost when he left Wisconsin to join the SEC, luring Ragnow - a Minnesota native - to the Razorbacks.
The powerfully-built Ragnow saw immediate playing time at center as a true freshman and started all 13 games at right guard a year later, allowing just two sacks all season long. He slid back inside to center for most of the 2016 season (starting at right guard against Texas State), giving him 26 consecutive starts by the end of his junior campaign. He considered leaving early for the NFL - projecting as a solid Day Two pick - but ultimately was convinced to return for his senior campaign.
Unfortunately, the 2017 season did not go the way that Ragnow nor his beloved Razorbacks envisioned. Arkansas stumbled to 2-5 start to the season (including 0-4 versus conference foes) when Ragnow suffered a high ankle sprain in the second quarter of a 52-20 blowout loss to Auburn. The injury, which required minor surgery, abruptly ended Ragnow's season and his college career.
While the injury was disappointing, it is not likely to impact Ragnow's final draft grade, assuming, of course, that team doctors at the Combine are satisfied with his recovery. He accepted an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl and could take a first step towards reassuring teams of his health in Mobile.
Regardless, along with Ohio State's Billy Price and Michigan's Mason Cole, Ragnow is a top three senior center prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft class, offering position versatility at guard as well.
Given four stars from ESPN, Scout and 247Sports ... Ranked as the No. 3 prospect from Minnesota by ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals ... According to 247Sports Composite ranking, he had a grade of 89 and was the country's 24th-best offensive tackle ... One of two 2014 Army All-American Bowl nominees from Minnesota and also was invited to the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl following his senior season ... During his career at Chanhassen High School, was twice named all-state, all-metro and all-conference ... Also played defense and accrued 102 tackles, including 14 sacks, and two fumble recoveries ... In his senior year, he helped the Storm to a school-record seven-game win streak from week three to the quarterfinal round of the sectional playoffs ... Played basketball and contested the shot put and discus throw and was a captain on all three teams ... An honor-roll student ... Coached by Bill Rosberg ... Chose Arkansas over offers from Ohio State, Florida State, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Minnesota.
Possesses exceptional size for the center position with broad shoulders, long, thick limbs and an even distribution of weight, including a powerful base. Ragnow shows good snap to step quickness, firing shotgun snaps accurately and latching onto opponents in one fluid motion, showing the coordination of hands and feet of an NFL veteran. From his accurate hand placement to easy knee bend to efficient path in finding and finishing targets at the second level, Ragnow shows textbook technique. He is powerful - jolting opponents with strong hands and even occasionally rag-dolling them - and is made more so because of his knee bend and core flexibility, which allows him to anchor effectively against bull rushers. His length and balance help him recover on the few snaps in which a defender slipped by him initially with Ragnow showing the hand-eye coordination to supply hits to the legal sides and hips of opponents, without drawing the ire of referees. Ragnow keeps his head on a swivel and looks to help his teammates, closing quickly to provide immediate help but not wasting time with blocks already won. Other than the high ankle sprain which cut his senior season short, Ragnow has shown excellent durability throughout his career, playing in 42 games overall, starting the final 33. -- Rob Rang 1/14/2018
Ragnow shows functional athleticism on the field but may not test well, showing less than ideal straight-line speed to reach deep targets when blocking at the second level. Undersized defensive tackles can give him trouble and Ragnow will resort to extending his legs wide to limit the gap between himself and the guard, leaving him slightly off-balance. He played in a relatively OL-friendly scheme based on downhill rushing and the quarterback getting the ball out quickly, which may not be the case in the NFL. Teams will want to get a closer look at Ragnow's surgically-repaired ankle. - Rob Rang 1/14/2018
COMPARES TO: Alex Mack, Falcons - Mack, 6-4, 311 pounds, earned a first round pick out of California back in 2009 and has lived up to that selection in Cleveland and Atlanta since, earning Pro Bowl invitations five times. Instinctive, athletic and physical, Mack played a significant role in Atlanta shedding the soft label, helping the Falcons emerging as one of the best teams in the NFC over the past two seasons.
IN OUR VIEW: Ragnow possesses rare size for center but can remain here due to his knee bend, which helps him anchor against bull rushers and root out opponents in the running game. He is best suited to playing center (or right guard) in a power-based scheme but is athletic and instinctive enough to handle a zone attack, as well. A plug and play option who shouldn't get out of the second round, Ragnow offers as much schematic and positional versatility as any interior offensive lineman in the 2018 class.