Why Stafford Is Already Impressed With Frank Ragnow

The quarterback has liked what he's seen out of his new left guard.

Will Burchfield
August 08, 2018 - 6:47 pm

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Frank Ragnow's most important job is to protect the Lions' most important player.

Through almost two weeks of training camp, including two joint practices with the Raiders, Matthew Stafford has liked what he's seen out of his new left guard. Rather, he's liked what he hasn't seen.

"I feel like I don’t hear his name much in meetings, which is a good thing, right?" Stafford said on Wednesday. "There’s not a lot of, ‘Hey Frank, you’re going the wrong way,’ or, ‘Hey Frank, you’re doing the wrong thing.’ For a rookie that’s impressive." 

Ragnow was praised for his versatility coming out of college, having excelled at both guard and center. It's one of the factors that compelled the Lions to draft him in the first round. He's been the team's starting left guard since the beginning of training camp, and has skipped hardly a beat. 

That has to please Stafford, who's been sacked more than any NFL quarterback over the last four seasons, including a career-high 47 times in 2017.

"He’s a smart guy, he takes a lot of pride in what he does," said Stafford. "And he’s got good guys around him to help him. They communicate really well up there and he receives that communication well, which is important too." 

Indeed, Ragnow finds himself on an O-line that looks on paper like one of the NFL's best. The unit's collective experience -- and willing guidance -- has made life easier for the rookie. 

So has taking snaps at the same position from day one. 

"It’s great. And even if I was lining up in other positions, the guys in the room are going extra to help me out," Ragnow said last week. "Graham Glasgow, T.J. Lang, Taylor Decker, Rick Wagner, all of them are really stepping out of their way to help me out, so I’m blessed that I’ve fallen into this room."

Of course, the 22-year-old is still somewhat of a misfit. 

"I’m used to playing with guys my age, and all of a sudden T.J. Lang’s got a couple kids, Rick Wagner’s got a kid. It’s like, holy crap," Ragnow said. "T.J. was joking with me on the sideline that he was 10 years old when I was born. It’s an adjustment, but they’re all very cool, very hip, so I can relate to them still."

For the record, Lang is 30, Wagner is 28, Glasgow is 26, and Decker turns 25 this month. Ragnow has been respectful of his place on the totem pole, carrying the veterans' pads off the practice field whenever possible. 

Lang, the elder statesmen, has been especially appreciative of the rookie's civility. 

"He's a pretty nice guy, he's been impressing me so far. He's a gentleman. A very mature 22-year-old," Lang said with a smile.

For Ragnow, high marks all around.