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Cincinnati Bengals

Locked On Bengals prospect spotlight: Frank Ragnow

Solomon Tentman



Nov 25, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (72) signals at the line of scrimmage to the rest of the offensive line during the first half agains the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field. Missouri won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Ragnow, C Arkansas, 6’5 305 

Games Evaluated: TCU, Alabama, Auburn

Prognosis: Frank Ragnow is an intriguing a prospect. There has been a lot of shuffling among the interior offensive linemen rankings over the past few weeks.

Is Ragnow elite in the bunch?

Ragnow has a firm, long build that I believe can support additional loading. Although he is pretty long and tall, he possesses decent hip and core strength displayed in his ability to pull effectively.

While he doesn’t have ideal balance (signaled in him being on the ground and being head heavy in a lot of situations), he does possess sound footwork when progressing towards blocks.

Ragnow has a great first step accompanied with great quickness, especially when moving lateral. He will need to improve on his hip flexibility at the next level to play with better pad level — as most times he is tree-top high.

When he is fully engaged into blocks with hands AND feet, Ragnow plays with a very good streak – looking to finish blocks aggressively to the whistle. However, he often struggles being fully engaged in the three game breakdown.

Ragnow struggles with consistently generating power and using his strength efficiently; more so in the run game.
What is very desirable about Ragnow to me is his versatility to play both C and G and the consistency he displays in playing both. There is no drop off or change of pace/play when he is at either position.

If there is something that Ragnow is consistently good at, it is protecting the QB. He does a good job of engaging defenders and moving laterally at an exceptional rate with them. They say that Ragnow had never given up a sack in his four year career, but he ended up having one uncharted one against Auburn that was negated by a holding penalty against him.

That was the only snap of pass protection where I saw Ragnow get somewhat beat, and even then, he fought to the end to maintain.

Ragnow displays his strength more frequently moving backwards in pass protection. Against stronger opponents who stab and bull rush, Ragnow stones them consistently; allowing almost no progression towards the QB. Ragnow does a very good job of taking care of home, then transitioning late on extra blitzers and stunts with twisting defensive linemen.

Ragnow will need to improve in the run game drastically if he wants become a starter in the NFL. His lack of consistent power generation concerns me. There were more clips of him getting whiplash and stood up out of his hips than you would like to see from an elite offensive line prospect.

He does not get defenders displaced from gaps consistently. When he does, it’s usually horizontal displacement from double teams or down blocks – due to the scheme that Arkansas ran. Ragnow gets very head heavy on occasion from lack of core strength and inconsistency of pounding his feet on contact.

While he struggles in the power department, Ragnow makes up some ground in the quickness department. He does a good and exceptional job on backside cut offs and frontside scoop blocks. He efficiently and consistently positions his body in front of defenders laterally.

When that is accomplished, he does a good job of torquing his hips for position to create good running seams.

Ragnow does a pretty solid job as a puller. While he may be a little high for my liking, he still moves fluidly to get in position to make a solid block. For Ragnow, getting out in space is like second nature for him. After initiating combination blocks, he does an exceptional job of taking proper blocking tracks with sound footwork to block 2nd level defenders.

He does a good job of staying under control and within his framework to gain proper blocking position on all defenders on screens and pulling on defenders outside of the tackle box.

Another thing that stood out was his ability to place his hands aggressively and accurately. Regardless of if it was in the run game or pass protection, he has his hands on the breastplate of defenders (inside hip on double teams). In pass protection, those hands deliver a stunning blow that holds pass rushers at the line of scrimmage most times. In the run game however, his hands don’t always come with great punch.

Everyone knows centers have to be one of the smartest players on the field, but the fact that Ragnow is able to play both center and guard with no drop off is a testament to his football intelligence. Ragnow usually finds the deceptive twist or late blitzer at either position.

That comes from hours of dedication in the film room as well as knowledge of both positions. The reliable Ragnow always makes smart blocks while trying to play hard throughout the entire game. Though he does have an edge, Ragnow plays a disciplined brand of football.

There were no false starts or bad snaps in the three game breakdown.

Ragnow will have a very good chance to start in the NFL. That being said, I do not think he is a first round prospect. I hope that a team and Ragnow proves me wrong.

His deft versatility aids his draft stock tremendously. Before he can play at a high level in the NFL, he must improve his pad level and consistent power generation in the run game. If he does put it all together, he WILL be an elite, stalwart interior linemen for his NFL tenure.

Though there isn’t an overwhelming difference in rank (other than Nelson being the head of the class), Ragnow would be behind Nelson, Wynn, Daniels, and Price for.

That being said, I do not want the Bengals to use a first round pick on him. If there is a better prospect at a different position in the second round, I would prefer them over Ragnow. I wouldn’t be mad if we ended up with him though.

He is a good prospect with sound technique. Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter!


Ragnow by the Numbers:
Strength & Power 5.5/10
Streak 6/10
Build 3.5/5
Balance/Footwork 6.5/10
Hips/Pad Level 6.5/10
Agility/Speed 5.5/7
Pass Pro 5/5
Run Block 6/10
Space Blocks 9/10
Hand Placement/Violence 4/5
Intelligence 9/10
Discipline 4.5/5

Check out my evaluations of Mike McGlincheyOrlando BrownQuenton Nelson, Connor Williams, Billy Price, James DanielsIsaiah WynnRoquan SmithTremaine Edmunds and Rashaan Evans.

Solomon Tentman is a Cincinnati native, alumni, and sports fan (the latter is unfortunate). His entire wardrobe is virtually red & black. Since he has become washed up from the sport of football, he spends a lot of his spare time reviewing and studying football in all aspects, whether it be scheme, technique, personnel, development, etc. Aside from his sports side, he is an absolute nerd. He firmly believes that "Winter is Coming" and that the Flash is better than your favorite superhero. He loves God most importantly. He likes to sneak a workout or two in every now and again. His goal is to hopefully please you, but don't expect too much because he can't even please himself. Hu-Dey

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Cincinnati Bengals

Gerald McCoy in stripes makes plenty of sense

Russell Heltman



The Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved on from star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy earlier this week after failing to find a suitable trade partner for his $13 million salary and the Cincinnati Bengals have taken notice.

Russini is clearly qualified and plugged in when it comes to breaking Bengals related news and this seems like a step in the right direction for fans who want this “New Dey” for the Bengals to start going after top tier talent with minimal long term risk. It’s clear that no team around the league wanted to give up draft picks while taking on McCoy at such a high cap number.

The Bengals should roll the dice here and take a calculated chance on a guy like McCoy who could turn this entire defense into the group most Bengals fans had high expectations for last season but ultimately finished as a bottom-three unit. McCoy and Geno Atkins would make up arguably the best interior line combination in the league. One that would rival the duo of Ndamokung Suh and Aaron Donald that the Rams rode to the Super Bowl.

After missing the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2012 last season, McCoy still notched six sacks and more importantly a team-high 21 pressures for the Buccaneers. Over his highly productive career, the former Oklahoma Sooner has tallied 393 pressures, good for sixth among interior linemen since 2010. McCoy is a stud who was the best defensive player on his team and a wrecker who has never been surrounded by much talent in the trenches.

Despite a rough year across the board for this Bengals defense, Atkins clearly showed he is still at the top of his game after tallying double-digit sacks for the first time since 2010 and creating 64 pressures, which ranked fourth among all interior linemen. Joe and Jake brought up a great point on Wednesday’s podcast, McCoy would be the best inside partner that Atkins has ever played with and would not only help open up more playmaking opportunities for him but also spell players across the line more rest after it was ravaged by injury in 2018.

Sep 24, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) reacts during the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have roughly $23 million in cap room as we head into the summer months and despite a clear goal of extending Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green, signing McCoy to a one or two year deal worth $10-12 million annually is more than doable. Green already accounts for $15 million against the cap this year and most estimates have his new deal reaching around $18 million per year, while Boyd has gone on record this week with expectations of a deal similar to Sterling Shepard’s four year/$41 million contract.

That leaves Cincinnati with just enough room to sign McCoy to a deal he’d be happy with.

The bottom line is players like this don’t come around very often, and during the Marvin Lewis Era, they were almost never targeted by the front office. McCoy could turn this swiss cheese-defense into a formidable force overnight while helping Bengals fans see the light of a New Dey at Paul Brown Stadium.


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Cincinnati Bengals

The AFC North Power Vacuum

Russell Heltman



The AB shoe has dropped.

After a drama-filled start to the offseason, Antonio Brown got his wish: A new home and contract in the Bay Area. The Pittsburgh Steelers shipped their disgruntled star to the Oakland Raiders for a pair of third and sixth round picks in this year’s draft.

The Killer-B Era in the Steel City is over.

Le’veon Bell called the organizations bluff last year and sat the entire season after he was offered $14.5 million on another franchise tag. That decision left the Steelers with the fifth most unused cap space in the NFL last season and now the loss of Brown hamstrings them even more. The Steelers must now eat $21 million in dead cap money with Brown in the Silver and Black, ostensibly the largest hit of its kind in league history.

Dec 10, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) celebrates with wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) after scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sweet, sweet music for the rest of the AFC North.

While Pittsburgh holds on to a fading era the other three teams in the division have kickstarted themselves with new coaches, quarterbacks, and in the Cleveland Browns case, both.

Baker Mayfield‘s talents are now fully paired with Freddie Kitchens, the duo led Cleveland to a 5-2 record down the stretch and has injected a breadth of confidence the franchise hasn’t felt since returning to the shores of Lake Erie in 1999. The Lamar Jackson Era is in full swing after the Baltimore Ravens shipped Joe Flacco to Denver for a fourth-round pick. Jackson is a dynamic playmaker but struggled as a passer in year one, despite aerial issues the former Heisman winner notched six wins in seven starts with a 27-24 loss to Kansas City mixed in.

In Cincinnati all of the eggs now lie in the Zac Taylor basket, The entire coaching staff has been overhauled outside of special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons and after 16 seasons of Marvin Lewis, there is tepid optimism surrounding this young coaching staff.

For the first time since Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season, the Steelers don’t seem like the go-to favorite to win the AFC North and stomp on another Marvin Lewis team. Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan are bringing fresh eyes and concepts to this roster and ideally Bengals fans will experience the 2018 LA Rams Offense: Midwest Edition when they roll into Paul Brown Stadium this Fall.

On the defensive side things can’t get much worse than last season with new coordinator Lou Anarumo taking the reins of a unit that ranked 32nd in total defense (413.6 yards allowed per game), 32nd against the pass (275.9 per game), 30th in points allowed (28.4 per game) and 29th against the run (137.8 yards per game).

Meanwhile, many of the draft experts have the Bengals selecting do-it-all LSU linebacker Devin White with the 11th pick. A massive value at that spot, White is as durable a player you’ll find at the linebacker position and is graded by Scouts Inc. as the fourth best prospect available in April. He would be a welcome addition to a defense that was the worst in the NFL defending tight ends last season.

A New Dey has arrived not only in Cincinnati but throughout the rest of the AFC North and with the Killer-B’s done in Pittsburgh the Bengals have their chance to fill the power void.

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals fans guide to Super Bowl LIII

Russell Heltman



It’s been 30 years since the Cincinnati Bengals last played in a Super Bowl. A heartbreaking 20-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was the Bengals most recent shot at glory, and while Sunday’s matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams showcases how far Cincinnati is to breaking that drought, there are plenty of things for Bengals fans to focus on inside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.


Keep an Eye on the Incoming Head Coach

Dec 3, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Zac Taylor is taking the reins from Marvin Lewis in what will be the first head coaching change since I started watching Bengals games during that magical 2005 season. The 35-year old Rams QB coach joins six other “young, offensive-minded” hires from this years coaching carousel. For Bengals fans, they are hoping he’s a cut above the rest, despite being the last to ink a deal. Bengals faithful should pay close attention any and every time the CBS production crew decides to show him in action on Sunday.

This is the biggest game Taylor has been a part of since entering the NFL coaching ranks with the Dolphins back in 2012 and it will be really interesting to see him handle a moment all Bengals fans hope he can relive sooner rather than later in Cincinnati. No one on the outside of the Rams organization really knows how involved Taylor is with setting up the gameplan, but he has clearly had a very positive effect on Jared Goff since taking over his tutelage in 2017.

How he interacts with Goff in between plays and coaches him through mistakes could go a long way in determining how he will help Andy Dalton (or Ryan Tannehill?) return to his 2015 form. Zac Taylor might not be the most experienced coach getting a chance this year but the results with Goff prove he deserves this opportunity.


Pre-snap and Play-Action

Jan 20, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) audibles during the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

There are still questions as to who will call plays and control the 2019 Bengals offense, but in saying that fans should expect a lot of carryover from this Rams system that has willed their way to Atlanta with pre-snap communication and play-action passing. It’s no secret that Goff and Rams head coach Sean McVay communicate right up to the 15-second cutoff during every play.

McVay can read the defense, then call something to match their formation and he often times uses motion to accomplish that. Former Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was allergic to this kind of communication and the offense ranked 32nd and 26th in his two seasons because of it. Expect Taylor to have his voice in the Red Rifle’s ear plenty on Sundays.

In terms of play-action passing the Rams used these plays as the cornerstone of their offense, calling them 34 percent of the time with devastating effect. LA’s 9.0 yards per play on these calls ranked third in the NFL and they averaged 1.9 yards per play more than regular calls. On the flip side, Cincinnati ranked 13th in the league calling play-action on 24 percent for 1.5 yards per play more than all other calls. It’s not rocket science, play-action works wonders in today’s NFL and Taylor is expected to bring that mindset with him to the Queen City.


Todd Gurley: The Receiver

Jan 20, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is tackled by New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Alex Anzalone (47) during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Player A: 55 targets, 43 receptions, 296 yards, 6.9 yards per catch, 1 TD

Player B: 81 targets, 59 receptions, 580 yards, 9.8 yards per catch, 4 TD

Yes, I know Joe Mixon had a stellar year running the ball (1,168 yards, 4.9 yards per carry) but he was totally mismanaged in the passing game and his Player A numbers reflect that. Player B, well I’d say he was used correctly and will continue to be used that way on Sunday. Despite his two costly drops in the NFC Championship Game, Todd Gurley is still one of the best receiving backs in the NFL.

A big reason why he’s so productive is the way LA puts him in an ideal position to make big plays, whether it’s a wheel route down the sideline or a throwback screen off of…. play action, this coaching staff does all they can to help him gash defenses. So far in Mixon’s career, I’ve barely seen any of that, it’s similar to putting a governor on a 66′ Cobra. Keep an eye on how the Rams use Gurley’s receiving skills to their advantage and imagine Mixon on the other end of those throws.

This One’s For Whit

Sep 27, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) and offensive guard Rodger Saffold (76) during the game against the Minnesota Vikingsat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams defeated the Vikings 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Every Bengals fan should be rooting for the new head coach to bring a Super Bowl winning pedigree with him to his new digs in Cincinnati, but if that wasn’t enough, we should all be rooting for Andrew Whitworth.

Likely on his way to back-to-back All-Pro selections Whitworth is one of the best players to ever play the tackle position and was a consummate professional during his 11-year stint in a Bengals uniform. He notched his first playoff win 13 years into his career and why not knock down all of the playoff milestones in one run. I know who I’m rooting for come Super Bowl Sunday.

Enjoy the holiday.

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