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'He's someone you can trust': Lions beat reporters on how Graham Glasgow could fit in Denver


Following media reports that the Broncos have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Graham Glasgow, we asked local Detroit reporters David Birkett (of the Detroit Free Press) and Chris Burke (of The Athletic) for their take on the potential new Bronco.

Ben Swanson: How would you describe the kind of player Graham Glasgow is?

David Birkett, Detroit Free Press: "I thought Glasgow was a very dependable, steady player. I thought the Lions made a mistake in letting him go and not signing him to an extension last summer when it seemed like they had the opportunity. I mean, the guy plays every position on the interior of the offensive line. He's missed one game because of injury in his career. Look, maybe he's not a future Hall of Famer, but I think he's a very solid player that any team can win with."

Chris Burke, The Athletic: "I think he's a really solid player. I think it made sense that he got the kind of money it sounds like he got. He's a guy that, he's started at center, he's started at guard, he's missed, like, a handful of snaps over the past two or three seasons. I wouldn't say he's great in any one area, but he's really solid across the board. I think he was really a draft-and-develop success story for them, which is why I think it really caught everyone off guard that they, for whatever reason, didn't seem all that interested in keeping him around, because he's been a pretty key part of that offensive line since they picked him up."

BS: As has been mentioned, he played multiple positions during his time in Detroit, including stints at both left and right guard, as well as some time at center. Was there one position he excelled at more than the others?

DB: "I think he's really capable of playing any of those spots. This past year was when he first played right guard — extensively, at least — and I thought he did a pretty good job. It looked like early on he was going to be a center. That's what he played a lot at Michigan, and when the Lions drafted him, he was sort of behind Travis Swanson at that position, but they were grooming him to take over. And he did that for one year in 2018, and then Frank Ragnow, their first-round pick in 2018 ended up taking over that spot in 2019, and that's when they moved him to right guard. I think he can play any of them. I guess I'd probably slot him at guard, but it wouldn't surprise me either way. Any position he ends up with, he can handle it."

CB: "I think he played really well there [at center]. I think some of that is just because they moved Frank Ragnow to center and the two of them seemed to really play well together. I don't know if he was necessarily better at right guard than he was at center. I think he is absolutely capable of being a full-time, long-term center. I think one of the reasons they drafted him in the first place and one of the reasons he stuck is he's a smart guy. He'll work hard and he'll go study the game. He's intelligent, he understands it. He won't be overwhelmed playing center by any means. And again, I think the quickness is there. To be there, [the question is] do you trust him against some of the better interior guys that he plays at center? But he certainly wasn't a weakness for them when he started at center. You could slot him into any of those three slots inside and be comfortable that he's going to give you a good year."

BS: Dating back a few years, the Broncos have had issues on the offensive line with injuries and penalties. How reliable is Glasgow in these areas?

DB: "You're not as much under the microscope, probably, in the interior of the line as you are at tackle. Some of those mistakes get magnified a bit more with sacks allowed and penalties. But, no, I think those were never a big issue for Glasgow in Detroit. I think he had three penalties this past season, when he started 15 games, and then in 2018 he had a few penalties that year — [six called on him] — but they had some bigger issues on the offensive line than the way that Graham Glasgow was playing."

CB: "Other than the versatility, that's probably the number one selling point for him. He missed one game this year, but he played every single snap for them in 2017 and 2018. He doesn't take a lot of penalties. I think he had three this year. It's not something where it's a constant problem. I think that that's a huge reason that you can be comfortable signing him to a bigger, long-term deal — because you know he's going to be out there every week, and you know most weeks he's going to play pretty well. There definitely were some games where they got overwhelmed with some of the interior pass-rushers they saw, especially, but I think he's pretty much, if you're not going to have a top-tier guy at a position inside, he's someone you'd absolutely want. He's really good in the locker room, he's really good with the media, he's smart and he's going to be out there every week most seasons. I don't know if the Lions are going to be able to plug the gap that they created for themselves by letting him walk, I'll just say that."

BS: The Broncos have a Hall of Famer as their offensive line coach in Mike Munchak. How much room is there, do you think, that he has to grow together with him?

DB: "I didn't even realize Munchak was there; I think that's good. Anyone can still learn and grow. I don't think Graham's ever been a guy opposed to coaching. Certainly he'll take whatever's given to him, and I think just the fact that he played all three of those positions — left guard, center and right guard, without complain sort of goes to that point, that whatever the coaches will ask him to do, he may do it for the good of the team. I think there's probably still room to grow. Maybe as a run-blocker you could see him take another leap, depending on how they're asking him to play this year. I think he'll be good for the Broncos for the balance of his contract."

CB: "I think he definitely can be better. I don't know if he's going to be a perennial All-Pro, but I think this probably was his best year. Again, I don't know, some of it's probably going to depend on whether you play him at center or guard, but I think he really settled in at guard this year. Even going back, if you watch Week 17 against the Packers, [that] was probably about as well as he's played maybe in his entire NFL career. He was just mauling people at the end of the season. So … I think there's some upside there, just in terms of the ability to kind of be a dominant guy. Like I said, I think he's solid, someone you can trust as a pass-blocker, he's someone you can trust as a run-blocker. He gets out into space; they use him quite a bit to go out and lead on the perimeter for screens, receiver screens and things like that, so he's capable of doing that and has enough athleticism. I think it's just a matter of whether he's going to develop more of the functional strength or just the instincts. I'm not sure where exactly he needs to go to take it to the next level, but it seems like he's still ascending. I don't think he plateaued this year or anything like that."

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