Brett Veach’s early acquisitions for the Chiefs worked out well
One of the first things that Brett Veach did as general manager was trade a future fourth-round draft pick for inside linebacker Reggie Ragland. The Buffalo Bills had just moved to a 4-3 defense and with the talent they had, Ragland proved expendable. The 2016 second round pick had yet to play a real NFL snap since he tore his ACL before the 2016 season started.
Plenty of questions surfaced regarding Ragland’s injury but Veach made it clear they were going to be patient with it. Fans were ecstatic to hear that a player they wanted the Chiefs to draft the year before was coming to Kansas City for a mid-round pick in 2019.
The former Alabama linebacker won SEC defensive player of the year in 2015 along with winning the national title that year. His downhill, hard-hitting style of play is something that the Chiefs have long needed next to linebacker Derrick Johnson. It’s that kind of attitude that this defense desperately needs as well, especially with safety Eric Berry out all year.
Getting his first action in Week 4 against the Washington Redskins, Ragland looked a bit hesitant and not used to the speed of the NFL yet. He started to look a bit faster to respond as the weeks went on. His real showing was after the bye week when Ragland recorded 8 tackles in back to back games.
The game against his former team the Buffalo Bills was the best game he had all season in my opinion. Anytime the ball was given the running back LeSean McCoy, Ragland was there to meet him with a punishing hit. There were multiple times that Ragland and outside linebacker Justin Houston worked together to trap McCoy in the backfield.
Ragland’s strength and vision proved very impressive multiple times when offensive linemen made their way to the second level. He was able to show the strength of not being pushed out of the play when blockers get their hands on him. Something that has been seriously lacking the last couple years at the linebacker position.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Ragland will be a piece that the Chiefs build around in the coming years. The former second-round pick will see an increased snap count next year which means more opportunities to shine. Ragland only saw the field 29.25% of the defensive snaps in 2017 but made the most of them with 44 tackles in 12 games.