Lions Rookie Profile: Graham Glasgow

The Lions drafted Michigan's center Graham Glasgow (61) in the third-round Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
The Lions drafted Michigan's center Graham Glasgow (61) in the third-round Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

In the third-round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected Michigan center Graham Glasgow. At 6-foot-6, 307 lbs, Glasgow is a big, versatile lineman that can compete right away with starting center Travis Swanson.

Glasgow played under former NFL head coach Jim Harbaugh during his final season at Michigan. Harbaugh, as he did with the majority of his players in his first season at Michigan, got the most out of Glasgow. While Michigan’s offensive line had its share of struggles, Glasgow showed significant improvement as the season progressed.

Glasgow fits the theme of Bob Quinn’s first draft as Lions general manager. He wanted to build the trenches and he did so–drafting five lineman. Taylor Decker, who was taken in the first round and Glasgow will both have a chance to compete and potentially start on the offensive line next season.

The Lions drafted left guard Laken Tomlinson last season, but he wasn’t the instant upgrade many assumed he would be. While his rookie struggles should have been expected, the team didn’t have a good backup on the roster, other than a struggling Manny Ramirez. Right guard Larry Warford was supposed to be the dominant veteran of the group but was slowed by injuries as well playing next to ineffective players on both sides.

Glasgow was taken with the idea he can play both guard and center, but won’t be given any starting job without earning it. This is a stark contrast from the way things were run under former GM Martin Mayhew, who wasn’t great at building depth. The Lions have had no shortage of playmakers over the past few seasons, but as coaches say, the games are won and lost in the trenches.

Matthew Stafford took a beating last season, due to poor offensive line play. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Under Mayhew, the Lions had zero room for error along their offensive line. Going into last season, the Lions had an undrafted free agent and a rookie 7th-round pick competing for the right tackle spot. Neither worked out and the entire line suffered as a result. Matthew Stafford was hit way too many times due to poor protection. The running game struggled mightily as well.

As a result, the Lions offense sputtered, contributing to the 1-7 start. It was clearly time for a change both in management and philosophy. This year’s roster is designed so that there will be competition at every position, creating a team better prepared to withstand injury and ineffective play.

Travis Swanson had a below average first year as starting center, so it makes sense to add a talented, versatile player like Glasgow. It’s too early to give up on Swanson, who will be entering his third season in the NFL. Swanson, like Glasgow, was a 3rd-round pick, back in the 2014 Draft. Glasgow adds competition and depth to what was probably the weakest position on the team.