Detroit Lions: Who is this Kenny Golladay guy?

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: The Detroit Lions take the field prior to the start of the game agains the against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 11, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: The Detroit Lions take the field prior to the start of the game agains the against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on December 11, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

For many, Detroit Lions rookie Kenny Golladay is still a complete unknown. However, if the buzz from training camp is real, he won’t be for very long.

“Who is this Golladay guy?”

Those were the first words said to me on Monday morning. No ‘hello’,  no ‘how was your weekend?’, but that’s cool. My initial response, as a Detroit Lions fan, was to pull the Kobe Bryant, when a reporter first asked him about Jeremy Lin back in 2012: “I don’t even know…what he’s done.”

As the early praises for the young receiver continue to roll in though, I’m starting to ask the same question myself. Who is this guy?

After about two weeks and a single preseason game, there is suddenly a lot of hype surrounding what was a mid-round afterthought back at the draft in April. New Golladay articles are spinning out seemingly every other day recently, from the Free Press, MLive, and Kellen Voss’s analysis at this site, to Chad Ochocinco giving his two cents. Golladay has by far been the most talked about player from this year’s Lions training camp.

Too Soon?

In college football message board culture, the term is “September Heisman”. The term generally mocks fan bases who get way too excited way too early about their new star player. Sparties used to make fun of Denard Robinson for getting this distinction (but come on, that guy was crazy in 2010). Their own Le’Veon Bell went and got an “August Heisman” in 2012.

As exciting as the buzz surrounding Kenny Golladay is, we still need to remember that “what he’s done” is had some good practices and a preseason game. He could very well become a steal for Bob Quinn and a key piece to an offense that finally lives up to the explosive promise it  hasn’t consistently shown since 2011. However, if he’s nothing more than a “Preseason All-Pro”, this will all look a little silly in a few months time.

The Lions are no strangers to drafting much-heralded wide receivers, with mixed results. The interesting thing about Golladay is that he didn’t arrive in Detroit with the same type of national reputation as many of those other receivers did.

Calvin Johnson, Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Herman Moore in an earlier generation were all big time college stars. Even the troubled Titus Young Senior had some brand name recognition by starring on some of those great Boise State teams.

Kenny Golladay though? I’d never heard of him until his name was called on draft day. Golladay’s YouTube highlight reel is solid, but there’s nothing on there that totally blows you away. He had good numbers at Northern Illinois, and was a first team All-MAC receiver, but didn’t get any All-America nods.

Best Case/Worst Case

With two impressive touchdown grabs in the preseason opener the other night, the secret is out now. In thinking about Golladay’s absolute best-case scenario this year, Marques Colston is a player who comes to mind. Colston (listed at 6-4, 225) has a very similar build as Golladay (6-4, 215), also came from a small school (Hofstra). He didn’t hear his name called until the end of the 7th round in that draft.

Colston  was a 1,000-yard rookie receiver rookie for the 2006 Saints, advancing to the NFC Championship game. Golladay had a couple touchdown grabs in a preseason game.

However, Golladay could help turn the receiving unit into a huge asset for Matthew Stafford. They’ll also need strong production from Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, of course. As a worst-case scenario, I guess I have to go with Charles Rogers.

Rogers came into Detroit with a ton of fanfare (especially being from Saginaw and going to MSU). He scored two touchdowns in the first half of his first regular season game. He then scored only two more touchdowns for the rest of his career.

I’ll admit it, this Kenny Golladay thing is intriguing. On the rise NFL teams often have at least one “where the heck did this guy come from?” breakout star.

Richard Sherman (5th round) became the face of the Seahawks. Colston ended up with over 70 touchdowns in his Saints career. The Saints hit the jackpot again with Jimmy Graham (3rd round) in 2010. Antonio Gates (Undrafted) didn’t even really play football seriously until he metamorphosed into a Hall of Fame tight end. And of course, there’s Tom Brady (and seemingly everybody else the Pats pick up) too.

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So when will it be the Lions’ turn? Who is this Golladay guy?

I’m not sure yet, but he has my attention.