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'It's wild': EMU's Pat O'Connor staying close to home with Lions

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Pat O'Connor

Allen Park – The Lions went local with their final pick.

In the seventh round, they selected Eastern Michigan defensive end Pat O’Connor.

O’Connor (6-foot-4, 277 pounds) was a two-time All-Mid American Conference selection (2014, 2016) who had a 4.84 time in the 40, and last season totaled 14.5 tackles and 8.5 sacks with the Eagles.

O’Connor had five forced fumbles, one of only nine players in the nation who had as many as five.

“It’s a great opportunity,” O’Connor said of the chance to play pro football down the freeway from where he played collegiately. “Every opportunity, I meet with full force and give it my all.

“It’s such a surreal moment, as well. I won’t have to move that far, and that’s something that means a lot to me.”

O’Connor could be reacquainted at the NFL level with a former high school teammate.

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who the Lions selected in the third round Friday, was a teammate of O’Connor’s as Chicago St. Rita.

“Kenny was my dude before going off to college,” O’Connor said of his friendship with Golladay. “We were tight. Senior classmates, best of friends. Now it’s great we’re on the same team together.

“It’s wild, honestly.”

O’Connor credited EMU assistant coach/defensive line coach Chuck Bullough with O’Connor’s ability to make big plays last season.

“He (Bullough) just wanted to get the ball out,” O’Connor said. “That’s something we would always do (in practice), day in and day out, practice fumbles, swinging the ball out of the quarterback’s hands.”

O’Connor isn’t projecting himself onto the roster, but where he might fit in.

“I’m just going to do everything I can right now to put myself in position to make the team,” O’Connor said.

tkulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan