High hopes for linebacker Reggie Ragland will likely have to be shelved until next year as the Buffalo Bills announced the rookie will undergo surgery for a torn ACL and is expected to miss the 2016 season.
Ragland, a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, suffered the injury in practice on Friday and there was hope that further tests would reveal it wasn't a season-ending injury. However, the team now expects Ragland to miss his entire rookie season due to the partially torn ligament that will require surgery to repair.
An old-school battering ram of a linebacker, Ragland was thought to be a first-round pick by many but fell to the second round. The Bills didn't let him slip too far though, and traded up to No. 41 in the draft order to take the 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Ragland was expected to be a starter for the Bills as a rookie and was already drawing rave reviews for his performance on the practice field. Just one day before his injury, Bills head coach Rex Ryan called Ragland a "complete player" who just knows how to play the game.
Pro Football Focus even listed Ragland as the No. 5 offseason addition in the NFL, behind four veterans who were added in free agency:
Ragland will have to prove himself capable of handling his coverage responsibilities in the NFL, but he'll be a dramatic upgrade from day one against the run. Ragland's instincts and burst to close sideline to sideline stand out. He should make an instant impact for Buffalo.
The Bills will instead have to wait for that impact until later and have Zach Brown or Brandon Spikes fill in the void until then.