Last year, right about this time at the start of training camp, we were referring to Frank Ragnow as one of the bright young centers in the NFL heading into a big third season.
Boy, how things can change in just a year.
Ragnow has since earned his first Pro Bowl nod and is now considered one of if not the best center in the game. He earned a massive contract extension from Detroit this offseason that made him the highest paid center in the league. He also got married.
It's been a big year for Ragnow, one to certainly be proud of, but he said Wednesday after Detroit's first practice of training camp that the key in this league is to never get complacent or stop trying to continually improve.
"I think there's definitely some added confidence," Ragnow said of his approach heading into the season. "Just to get recognized by your peers and by your team gives you that backing to have that confidence, but otherwise I'm still trying to push myself."
Ragnow did now allow a single sack in 2020. He did not commit a false start penalty, and only had two penalties total in 14 games. In 45 career games, all starts, he has only surrendered 6.0 sacks and been called for 12 penalties.
He's become the anchor and the heartbeat for what Lions fans hope is a Top 10 offensive line unit for Detroit with the addition of No. 7 overall pick Penei Sewell at right tackle to go along with some of their other established players like Ragnow, Taylor Decker and Jonah Jackson.
Ragnow made the point Wednesday talking about the o-line that the more established players in the room like Decker and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are only entering their sixth seasons and are still in their mid to late 20s, so it's a nice young nucleus he hopes has a chance to grow and build some really good chemistry.
"It's a good group of friends," Ragnow said. "And that's a huge part of the offensive line. I'm excited for that camaraderie to go along with (the talent)."
It's a talented and deep group up front for Detroit, anchored by arguably the best center in the league in Ragnow. They want to prove they can be elite, and know they have to play well for the Lions' offense to be successful.