May 5, 2016
ALLEN PARK — New Lions quarterback Jake Rudock is going to have a lot thrown at him when he reports to rookie minicamp on Friday.
But he’ll also have a familiar face snapping him the ball, which could be comforting in his difficult transition to an NFL offense. His old center at Michigan, Graham Glasgow, was selected by Detroit in the third round of the NFL draft. Rudock went three rounds later.
“I just shot him a quick text and just said, ‘Hey, what’s up teammate?'” Rudock said after the pick. “He was like, ‘Wait, are you serious?’ So that was pretty awesome.”
The selections of Glasgow and Rudock re-establish an old pipeline from Ann Arbor to Detroit that had run dry in recent years. The Lions have now taken 33 Michigan players, which breaks a tie with USC (31) for the most in club history, but hadn’t taken any since taking first-rounder Jeff Backus in 2001.
Here’s a leaderboard:
T-1. Michigan — 33
T-1. USC — 31
3. Ohio State — 24
4. Tennessee — 21
T-5. Oklahoma — 20
T-5. Purdue — 20
T-7. Michigan State — 19
T-7. Notre Dame — 19
9. LSU — 18
T-10. South Carolina — 17
T-10. Detroit Mercy — 17
T-10. Nebraska — 17
T.10 Washington St. — 17
“I think it’s awesome,” Glasgow said. “I think that they’ve been able to see more games than any other team and find out what type of guy I am and just be around the program. I think that Michigan, especially over these next few years and down the line here, is going to be producing a lot of good players. And it won’t just be me getting selected this year. I think there will be more selections from the Lions from Michigan. I mean, there will be more of them over the next few years.”
Glasgow had to wait just hours to be proven right.
While Rudock was only a sixth-round pick, he’s sure to be one of the most scrutinized players during this weekend’s minicamp. There are some questions about his physical ability — his arm strength, in particular — which is why many analysts believed he would not be selected at all. He wasn’t even among the 18 quarterbacks invited to the combine.
But the Lions had their reservations satisfied after an impressive pre-draft workout in Allen Park, and bumped Rudock in front of Louisiana Tech’s Jeff Driskel and some other better-regarded quarterbacks.
“I really think the bottom line is, when we worked him out, I really came away impressed about how he threw the ball,” GM Bob Quinn said.
Quinn was also blown away by his intelligence and intangibles during some pre-draft contact. He raved about Rudock’s IQ, which was enhanced not only from playing at two schools, but also playing that final season in Jim Harbaugh’s pro-style system.
“They really train us like NFL players,” Rudock said. “They really preach that and have us study what the NFL guys do and how well they do it.”
Rudock said that helped his interview process with teams such as Detroit.
“I felt really confident going into those interviews. Guys that come from a spread, they have to study a lot more going into that offseason to prepare for these meetings,” he told MLive this week. “For me, it was just doing normal study, watching tape like I normally would, being able to talk (the language). I still live with (Michigan quarterback John) O’Korn. He’ll talk about things and we’ll talk through them together. I’ll have him ask me something to help prepare me.
“It’s easy when you’ve been talking like that for five years.”
That experience should give Rudock a solid base from which to build as he begins to learn Jim Bob Cooter’s complicated offense during rookie minicamp this weekend. And how quickly he picks things up could determine whether he can beat out Dan Orlovsky for the backup job behind Matthew Stafford.
Glasgow is in for a fight of his own, though his is for a starting job, and it’s one he can win. Incumbent starter Travis Swanson is on the ropes after turning in a dismal first season as a starter in 2014, and the third-round picks are expected to duke it out throughout the offseason.