NFL draft: Ohio State's Fragel seemingly a natural at tackle
Nfldraftscout.com has Reid Fragel (77) ranked 14th among tackles and the 147th overall prospect.
Even though Reid Fragel has been plying the trade of offensive right tackle for only a year, he knows he is climbing on the radar of NFL teams as the start of the draft looms Thursday.
The Cincinnati Bengals called the Ohio State product last week to set up a workout yesterday morning. “Awesome” was the word Fragel used to summarize his performance in the drills at Ohio State. “They said I improved my stock with them.”
But wait: Didn’t the Bengals spend a first-round pick on can’t-miss right tackle Andre Smith of Alabama a few years ago? The answer is yes, but the NFL is all about right now and tomorrow, and it appears the faith that Fragel had in himself when he and OSU coach Urban Meyer agreed just over a year ago that his future was as a tackle, not a tight end, is about to pay off.
“This whole time, not to sound cocky, but I was confident in my ability to become an NFL tackle,” Fragel said. “That’s been a one-year project, and a credit to the coaches I’ve worked with.”
The recipients of Fragel’s praise were OSU offensive line coach Ed Warinner, who pushed him; graduate assistant and former OSU tackle and NFL journeyman Kirk Barton, who taught him tricks of the trade; strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti; and former OSU/NFL center LeCharles Bentley, at whose lineman camp Fragel blossomed the past several months.
It also helped that Fragel has rare physical ablilities. He is 6 feet 8, 310 pounds, with a mere 8 percent of body fat. At the NFL combine in February, after running a 5.14-second 40-yard dash, his 33 reps with 225 pounds on the bench press was the best among tackles, his 30-inch vertical leap was fifth and his 113-inch standing broad jump was third.
Those are some of the reasons Nfldraftscout.com has Fragel ranked 14th among tackles and the 147th overall prospect. He “has been enjoying a steady rise up draft boards as teams like the potential he’s shown in his one season at tackle,” Nfldraftscout.com’s Rob Rang wrote after the Buckeyes’ pro workout day in March.
Most projections have Fragel going from the late third round on Friday to the fourth round on Saturday, when the last four rounds of the draft will be conducted. But when a team shows enough late interest to want to work him out again, as the Bengals did yesterday, it could be a sign of a player on the rise.
“It means a lot,” Fragel said. “It tells me they are very interested, especially during this very chaotic time nearing draft day.”
Perhaps the critique of Fragel on the NFL website, which has assessments of most of the players expected to be drafted, says it best: “Though he’s obviously still learning the position, NFL teams consider him a potential starter at the next level because of his overall athleticism and upside.”
It was self awareness of such capability that drove Fragel to make the position change. He likely would have been an afterthought as a tight-end prospect this week.
“A year ago today, making that switch, and now just waiting to hear my name called in the NFL draft, that is something I’ve dreamed about my entire football career,” Fragel said.