The Lions selected receiver Kenny Golladay in the third-round of this year’s draft, and hints already exist it may be one of the more productive picks of their draft class.
Golladay has yielded his fair share of attention throughout the off season, particularly at mini-camp. But before we look ahead to his rookie year, let’s touch on where things began for Golladay.
The third-round pick’s path to the NFL wasn’t smooth. Being recruited out of the Chicago area, the University of North Dakota was the only school to offer him a scholarship. After playing for the Fighting Hawks for two years, Golladay decided to transfer with the firing of the coaching regime. He opted for Northern Illinois University, an up in competition and a move closer to home. However, because of NCAA rules Golladay was forced to sit out the entire 2014 season.
Golladay wasted no time once he was able to play at Northern Illinois. 2015 saw Golladay make second-team All-MAC, hauling in 73 catches for over 1,110 yards. Golladay matched 2015 with another 1,000 yard season in ’16, and moved up to first-team All-MAC.
While Golladay surely had his share of success in college, it’s obvious he knows he has a lot of work to do to become a quality NFL receiver.
“This is a guy who shows up and doesn’t say anything. He’s always trying to learn. He keeps asking us older guys questions”, veteran receiver Golden Tate said via Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press.
Golladay has said he’s been overlooked his whole life, but that’s led to a keep-your-head-down and keep-grinding type of attitude. Tate noticed Golladay plays with a chip on his shoulder and a sense of confidence, despite not exhibiting an ounce of arrogance.
That’s exactly the type of attitude you want from a rookie pass catcher, a guy who clearly has a legitimate shot at being the Lions third wide receiver.
Regarding the on-field product he’s put out so far, one of the aspects of Golladay’s game that stands out is his catch radius. His long arms allow him to snag balls that may be behind or too far in front of him. It doesn’t have to be a perfect throw for him to grab it, a quarterback friendly skill that Matthew Stafford has to like.
His size also makes him a serious redzone threat. At 6’4 and 218 pounds, he’ll be able to go to toe-to-toe with any defensive back in the league. The size he brings to the table along with his large catch radius should make him one of Stafford’s favorite targets in the red area.
Let’s be careful and not anoint him as the next great Lions receiver yet. Golladay would prefer to fly under the radar anyway, but he does possess several qualities that make you excited about how he can help this team.