Top Colleges At Producing Detroit Lions: The University Of Michigan

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Analyzing The Detroit Lions’ Acquisitions From University Of Michigan.

This is the eighth article in a 12 part series that will examine which colleges have been the best at producing Detroit Lions in the 21st century. Today will be a look at Lions players from the University of Michigan.

Jake Rudock

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Jake Rudock only spent one season of his collegiate career at Michigan, but he had a pretty good impact in that season. After playing two underwhelming seasons at Iowa, Rudock decided to transfer to Michigan for his senior year in 2015. Rudock set career highs in yards (3017), touchdowns (20), completion percentage (64%) and yards per attempt (7.8). He also ran for 166 yards and four touchdowns. Rudock led the Wolverines to a 10-3 record and a bowl win against the Florida Gators in the Citrus Bowl. Rudock played extremely well in that bowl game, completing 20 of 31 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Rudock was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Lions.

Jake Rudock did not appear in any games in his rookie season. He had a very up and down preseason in 2016, but showed enough promise that he is still on the team and appears to be the favorite to back up Matthew Stafford this season.

In the sixth round of the 2017 Draft, the Lions selected Brad Kaaya, who is also a quarterback. Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya will battle for the backup quarterback job this training camp and preseason. Here is an article further breaking down that competition.

Graham Glasgow

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Graham Glasgow played for three seasons at Michigan, from 2013 through 2015. He showed ability to play both the guard and center positions. He started 37 games over those three years and started every game in his senior season at the center position. At the end of the 2015 season, Glasgow won the Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award for being the top offensive lineman on the Wolverines and was also named as an honorable mention to the All Big Ten team.

Glasgow has issues off the field in college as he was arrested for DUI. A few months later, he was again arrested for DUI, which broke his probation from the first arrest. This led to a somewhat interesting story about Glasgow moving in with his grandmother to get his life together. Glasgow has appeared to get his life together, and was drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.

As a rookie, Graham Glasgow was expected to be a backup center and guard. After Laken Tomlinson struggled to play the left guard position, Glasgow stepped in and started 11 games for the Lions. Glasgow was not great, but he looked very good considering he was a rookie and will likely be the starting left guard to open up the 2017 season.

Jeff Backus

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Jeff Backus played for four seasons at the University of Michigan, first appearing in his freshman year in 1997. In that season, he would start all 12 games at left tackle despite being a freshman. In that season, Michigan went undefeated and was named the national champions. He would go on to start all 49 games of his college career at left tackle. Because of his collegiate success, Backus was drafted with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

Jeff Backus immediately became a staple for the Detroit Lions, starting every game at left tackle in his rookie year. He would play 12 seasons for the Detroit Lions, and he started every game for all of them at left tackle, except for one. In his final season, he missed the Thanksgiving day game against the Houston Texans. Other than that, Backus played football from 1997 until 2012 and never missed a game.

Jeff Backus was never a dominant NFL tackle, but he did provide stability at one of the most important positions for the Detroit Lions for a very long time. He never was selected to a pro bowl or named an all pro, but he did have a very good, long career. He stuck with the Lions through the worst period in the history of the franchise, and that alone is worth something.


So far, the early returns from the University of Michigan have been good for the Detroit Lions. Backus was never a great played, but he was an average to good player for a very long time and was one of the more reliable players in franchise history. Glasgow looked solid in his rookie season, and could develop into a good starter. Rudock has the potential to be a good backup for the team. Michigan has not provided great Detroit Lions so far, but it could be a lot worse.

Grade: C+

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