In 2012, the Detroit Lions had a slew of offseason arrests that made them the target for many a joke from fans of other teams. Despite historically being one of the teams with the least trouble with the law in the past few decades, this one year with multiple arrests caused quite an embarrassment. Then general manager Martin Mayhew made it very clear, he would take a character-driven approach to his draft evaluation from then on and nearly every player he picked from then on was as squeaky clean as it came. It seemed as if his successor, Bob Quinn, while being advised by Jim Caldwell, would follow a similar approach, yet in his first draft as general manager he drafted one of the riskier character picks in the class: Graham Glasgow.
Whether you're a Michigan or a Michigan State fan, I think most would agree that Ann Arbor and the surrounding area can be pretty boring. So it comes as no surprise that in March of 2014, Graham Glasgow, then the starting center for the Wolverines, decided to enjoy college life with a little bit of drinking. The bad decision bug kicked in and Glasgow thought driving around with his drunk friend hanging out of the passenger window would be a good idea. The new Lion was arrested for DWI and cited. Our story should end there, I mean it's college and people make mistakes. Heck, Riley Reiff, then a freshman defensive end at Iowa, once stripped down in an alley then led police on a 20 minute foot chase. Unfortunately, there's more.
Graham Glasgow would violate his probation in 2015, resulting in another team suspension. In neither case was anyone injured and Glasgow wasn't so hammered he went to a drive through naked (I get bonus points for finding a POD article from 2006). It shows a pattern of behavior and poor decision making that gave many pause during the draft. I, admittedly, was smitten with him as a prospect and didn't even know about it until afterwards. Like you do sometimes when you're taken with a prospect, I paid more attention to how he was a respected team leader who was mean as hell on the field, not knowing that the former was earned back more than just earned.
Maybe he was just a college kid that made a couple mistakes, but whether it was a clear pattern or just a blip on his life radar he couldn't have landed in a better spot when he was drafted. The Detroit Lions boast two things a player like Glasgow could use to set and keep him on the right track. It has a battle for starter that will be fierce and contested from the start and it has a player who fell into the abyss and brought himself back who can mentor him. In that, he may find himself receiving advice from an often unlikely source for an offensive lineman, the Detroit Lions starting kicker, Matt Prater.
The potentially starting center already received help from one important source, his grandmother. I'm not claiming that he needs to be babysat, nor that Prater should line himself up as a surrogate grandfather to pull him along, but having someone nearby who can provide an example of how to present yourself is important for some. Prater, for those unaware, battled alcohol use for years. After multiple off field issues, he was released from the Broncos despite being one of their best kickers ever.
Prater would face a tough battle to make it onto the Detroit Lions roster. He tried out with Jay Feely and Connor Barth, both of which were impressive from very long distances in their tryouts, but it was ultimately the record setting but troubled Matt Prater who won the job. He would go on to hit the longest field goal in team history and receive a new contract with the Lions. His situation is dissimilar to Glasgow's, aside from them being alcohol related, but as grateful as Prater was to be given his second chance, I feel he provides an important resource for the rookie to help prevent him from taking a similar course.
It's a new era for the Detroit Lions with new leadership, and if the worst they have to worry about in the future is a couple alcohol issues then we as fans should consider ourselves fortunate. Is Glasgow's poor decision making behind him? Will we hear about any active mentorship between the redeemed Prater and the rookie? Regardless of how this plays out, it is interesting to see how this helps shape Bob Quinn as a general manager. Will he learn from it, or over-correct like his predecessor did? I, for one, am facing the future with cautious optimism.