INDIANAPOLIS – Four months ago, many considered Arkansas' Frank Ragnow the best center prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. Then he missed the final five games of his senior season with a high ankle sprain that required surgery.
24 hours ago, many considered Ohio State's Billy Price the best center prospect in the draft. Then he suddenly stopped on the third rep of his bench press here at the combine after suffering a pectoral injury.
"It's unfortunate. I'm hoping for the best for him," Ragnow said shortly after Price walked off holding his left shoulder. "He's been really great and we've really bonded over this experience."
Fortunately for Price, the MRI he took Friday morning showed "something very minor."
"It was officially an incomplete pec tear," said Price, whose 55 straight starts at Ohio State were a school record. "With the MRI results we were able to see a little bit of an issue but nothing that is going to force me to miss time. I'll be fine for the season and I should be fine going into training camp."
So it appears Price dodged a bullet, but the setback may drop him slightly down draft boards. If so, both Price and Ragnow could be good value picks, say, late in the first round for a team that could use a guy who can play center and guard. Like, a team in Carolina whose five-time Pro Bowl center is planning to play just one more season and whose All-Pro left guard may be lost in free agency?
But while Price, who's an exceptional run-blocker, has received more notoriety the past couple of months, take a look at this chart of data mined by the folks at Pro Football Focus:
If you believe in stats, those sure make Ragnow look like a better pass protector. And while he's not participating in combine drills, he is planning to "go through everything" at his Pro Day and promises to be ready for spring workouts with whichever team drafts him.
"I want (teams) to know that my ankle's all right," Ragnow said. "They all looked at the ankle and they all approved it.
"I think I've kind of been lost in the mix of things because of my injury, but I think teams do realize that I've shown what I can do. I can be a pretty good football player."