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Football: Here’s what the Las Vegas Raiders are getting in undrafted Ragin’ Cajuns RB Trey Ragas

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 4, 2021

When Trey Ragas was asked to move to linebacker because his St. Augustine high school team already had a star running back, he decided to bet on himself. 

He transferred to Archbishop Shaw, another New Orleans area high school, and later signed with the Ragin’ Cajuns. But showing he could run like Leonard Fournette, the star running back in front of him at St. Augustine, wasn’t what motivated Ragas to move.

“I’m Trey Ragas. I’m myself,” Ragas said. “I play how I play, and I do what I do. So it was proving myself – what I’m capable of.”

After going unpicked in the 2021 NFL Draft, Ragas signed as a free agent with the Las Vegas Raiders. Here’s what the Raiders are getting:

The positives

At 5-foot-10 and 230 pounds, Ragas is a forceful runner between and off the tackles.

The power back had at least eight rushing touchdowns in each of his four college seasons, something only he and Clemson’s Travis Etienne accomplished during that span.

BACK TO THE BASICS:How the Cajuns plan to replace two running backs lost to NFL draft

“Trey’s game really translates well to the National Football League,” coach Billy Napier said of Ragas, who shared with the backfield with Elijah Mitchell, Chris Smith and 2020 NFL rookie Raymond Calais Jr. “You know, there’s not a lot of home runs hit in the (NFL) in the run game.

“(Ragas) hits a lot of doubles. That’s who he is. I think there’s no shame in that. The guy’s … big, powerful, tough to tackle. Big lower half. Always falls forward.”

UL running backs coach Jabbar Juluke said Ragas is “self-motivated” and Napier cites attributes – “great attitude, tough, durable, grit” – that he said makes Ragas “one of the most loyal, selfless” players he has coached.

WATCH:What Elijah Mitchell’s blazing 40-yard dash time means for his NFL draft stock

The concerns

There are questions as to whether Ragas’ speed – his 4.68-second 40-yard dash time at his pro day was somewhat disappointing – and one-dimensional style will hold up against NFL defenses.

Acceleration lacks and breakaway runs are infrequent. Ragas undoubtedly could wear down Sun Belt Conference tacklers, though.

“He’s going to make you quit,” Cajuns strength coach Mark Hocke said.

“He’s gonna make your defenders tap by just physically imposing, almost like an old-school running back. … He’s gonna make you feel him for four quarters.”

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Although he had 25 catches in 2018, Ragas also remains somewhat unproven as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Juluke called his ball skills “above average, and almost elite,” but added, “he just hasn’t done it enough.”

Final thoughts

Ragas was effective on the Group of Five level.

He finished as UL’s No. 3 career rushing leader with 3,474 yards, trailing only Tyrell Fenroy and Kansas City Chiefs running back Elijah McGuire. He had 38 career rushing touchdowns. He picked up more than 100 rushing yards 13 times, although just one came last season and seven came during a 14-game 2018 season in which he surpassed 1,000 yards for the only time in his college career.

Ragas faces an uphill climb, then, if he is to crack an NFL roster.