UM's Glasgow 'speechless' after going to Lions

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Graham Glasgow

Allen Park — There are bad days. And then there are days like this.

This is better, much better, Graham Glasgow is happy to let you know.

"It's surreal, really," the Michigan star center said late Friday night, after he learned he was the latest addition to the Detroit Lions roster.

"This is the first time I've actually been able to collect my thoughts."

Glasgow, 23, was picked late in the third round by the Lions, 95th overall, making him the 31st Michigan player drafted by Detroit — but the first since tackle Jeff Backus in 2001.

He capped a big first two days of the draft for new Lions general manager Bob Quinn. And by big, we mean very big.

Glasgow is 6-foot-6, 301 pounds, and joins second-round pick A'Shawn Robinson (6-4, 320) from Alabama and first-round pick Taylor Decker (6-8, 315) from Ohio State. Glasgow and Decker are offensive linemen, Robinson a defensive lineman.

Those selections were certainly by design.

"Big, strong, tough, durable, those are four words than you can probably describe both of those guys, and versatile," Quinn said of the second-day picks, Glasgow and Robinson. "That's where I believe you win football games. You win football games in the trenches."

Forget trenches. Let's talk holes. Glasgow knows all about being in a hole — being down and, almost, out.

This is a kid from Illinois, who came to Michigan as a walk-on and earned a scholarship — and then, in the spring of 2014, was arrested for drunken-driving. Then-coach Brady Hoke kept him. Then, in the spring of 2015, he violated his probation. And new coach Jim Harbaugh kept him.

Glasgow ended up living with his grandma — yes a college kid living with Grams.

Boy, look at him now.

"The drunk-driving stuff for me is in the past and it was something that I've learned from and take responsibility for," Glasgow said on a conference call with reporters. As for starting out as a walk-on, "That sort of taught me the person that's most responsible for your development is yourself.

"And you have to find the motivation to get yourself better."

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Despite all the ups and downs, Glasgow started the last three years of his college career, every game, whether it was at center or right guard.

Yet, still, while Quinn and Co. liked him after his college career ended in the winter, Glasgow still had work to do. What else is new?

He went to the East-West Shrine Game in January, and did so well there, he earned an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he impressed again, ahead of the February NFL combine.

That was huge, Quinn said.

"You play the best competition down there," Quinn said. "The Big Ten is great football, but when you go against the best of the best in these postseason All-Star Games, I think that's really an important part of the evaluation process.

"Even more so than the games, the practices."

Glasgow spent Day 2 of the NFL Draft watching wall-to-wall coverage with his parents, but wasn't necessarily expecting to go off the board before Saturday. He expected to be a third- or fourth-round pick.

That it was the Lions that called just before the day's action wrapped up was a pleasant surprise, because he didn't recall spending any more time talking to the Lions than other interested teams. He had some nice talks at the Senior Bowl and the combine, but nothing that made the Lions the obvious destination.

Quinn joked that he could have driven to Glasgow's house to deliver the good news.

"I didn't really know what to say," Glasgow said of the call from Quinn. "I was sort of speechless."

Quinn didn't say much, other than welcome to the Lions. There was no talk about expectations, or what position he could play in Detroit.

Glasgow, for one, has high expectations for himself, as he always has. He also knows, as always has been the case, it'll take some more work. He doesn't have a position preference, joking, "If they want me to play corner, I'll play corner."

Glasgow said he typically has graded out the same at each position.

Quinn isn't ready to commit to a position, either. But certainly, the Glasgow pick means Travis Swanson, a third-round pick in 2014, has competition.

"Travis played well for the Lions last year and I think he's definitely part of the mix," Quinn said. "We may add more guys to the mix. When I came in here, I think everyone knew it's kind of a clean slate and everybody has to earn their job, no matter what position it is.

"That goes for everybody, not just Travis."

That, of course, is a topic for another day.

Glasgow's had his share of bad days.

But this, this was a very good day.

"I started out as a walk-on, earned a scholarship, got in trouble, sort of worked my way back up and now am an NFL player," he said. "It's something, it's my dream to play in the NFL."