At this time a year ago, two days before the NFL Draft, Frank Ragnow's head was spinning.
His final season at Arkansas, his rehab from an ankle injury, the senior bowl, the combine, that was all behind him. Rookie minicamp, OTAs, training camp, his first NFL season, that was all ahead of him.
He wouldn't get a chance to decompress for several more months.
"You kind of just go, go, go, go and you never get a second to step back and breathe," Ragnow said Tuesday. "I think this offseason I definitely got that opportunity to step back and realize that it was a great learning experience personally.
"Definitely not where I want to be, but to be able to reflect, catch your breath and realize how blessed and lucky you are, it’s been good for me personally."
Detroit's first-round pick in 2018 had an up-and-down first season. At times he looked like a seasoned pro on the interior of the offensive line. At others he looked like the rookie who split time between center and guard in college. His confidence went through the same swings.
'Here' as in the NFL, and 'here' as in left guard, the position the Lions drafted Ragnow to play. His development this season is crucial with T.J. Lang, his counterpart on the offensive line, having retired. As for his development this offseason, Ragnow has been focused on improving his balance.
"That might seem broad, but in pass protection a lot of it's just weight distribution and balance," he said. "That was one thing I was really trying to work on, my pad sets and making sure I’ve got the weight in the right steps."
For offseason training tips, Ragnow said he reached out to Lang and former Lions offensive lineman and fellow Arkansas product Travis Swanson. He also worked with his strength and conditioning coach at Arkansas, Ben Herbert, who's now in the same position at Michigan.
"That’s like 30 minutes down the road from me," Ragnow said. "So I was able to kind of lean on him and figure out what he knew, and we developed a program that really fit me."
The Minnesota native is feeling more and more at home in Michigan, as he prepares to show the same at left guard.
"It’s been great. I've been able to develop a routine as a...Michigander," Ragnow said, not exactly nailing the pronunciation. "Michigan resident? Michigander?"