CHICAGO -- Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland just wanted to go home.
Ragland, who was NFLDraftScout.com's No. 15 prospect, spent Thursday in the prospect green room, a perch overlooking the stage at Auditorium Theater, and left the event surrounding by family and teammates who felt the same disappointment.
Defensive tackles A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed were at adjacent tables Thursday night, but met late somewhere between the confluence of anger and anguish.
"I was thinking everything, 'I want to go home.' Reed, A'Shawn we all got together and said 'Let's stay, be here for each other,'" Ragland said Friday night, 20 minutes after being drafted by the Buffalo Bills at No. 41.
Ragland nearly entered the 2015 NFL Draft but coach Nick Saban said he felt Ragland was a top-20 prospect if he returned and worked on a few weaknesses -- namely running with backs and tight ends in the open field.
Ragland said reports of an enlarged aorta that surfaced Wednesday were blown out of proportion. He said teams checked him out and recommended only an annual checkup.
The Bills paid a steep price to jump eight spots in the second round to get Ragland, a player general manager Doug Whaley said was in the conversation when Buffalo selected defensive end Shaq Lawson 19th. Whaley said the Bills called multiple teams, starting with the Cleveland Browns at No. 32, with a target squarely on Ragland.
Ragland said coach Nick Saban was "a little upset" to see his pupils available Friday.
"It was a little stressful. My family kept me calm. Most of all kept my dad calm. It was a humbling experience and feeling," Ragland said. "It was very surprising to see those two guys were still there. We're going to produce and prove the hype is not fake."
It wasn't a stunner for Ragland to be drafted by the Bills. His first contact with the team actually came during the pre-draft process at ... the mall?
"Down in Birmingham, I was walking out of the mall and Rex and Rob Ryan were walking in," Ragland said of the signs he'd land in Buffalo. "I had a lot of contact with them."
Ragland said he envisioned the possibility after talking to Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, another Alabama product. Ragland, the 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, went off the board and started on run on Crimson Tide defenders.
"It's all a blessing now that we're in, these teams trusted us," Ragland said.
Robinson was picked 46th by the Detroit Lions. The 21-year-old said he was pleased with the fit.
"I really didn't get too upset about it, or mad or sad about it. Everything happens for a reason," Robinson said. "My mom asked me, would I ever get emotional about it. I got the call, it was just an amazing feeling. A blessing."
Robinson said his uncle showed him defensive line play of Warren Sapp and Ndamukong Suh at a young age when size was a clear gift. Robinson weighed more than 200 pounds in middle school, and his mother used to be called upon to produce his birth certificate during JFL games. Robinson still looks the part of an older man facially, but his game could be perfect for Detroit.
Reed was picked No. 49 by the Seattle Seahawks, who also moved up via trade to get their guy.
Reed fills an immediate need -- defensive tackle Brandon Mebane signed with the Chargers in free agency -- but has versatility to move around on the line. He started 28 games the past two seasons for Alabama.
"I feel amazing that we all left together. We all left the board about the same time," Robinson said.
Alabama had five players drafted in the top 60, including cornerback Cyrus Jones (60th, New England Patriots) and center Ryan Kelly, the only first-round pick from the Tide.