Former football player drafted by Detroit Lions


Former football player drafted by Detroit Lions

By Tom Burton

DeKALB — The Detroit Lions selected former NIU wide receiver Kenny Golladay with the 96th overall and the 32nd and final pick of the third round of the 2017 NFL draft Friday night.

{{tncms-inline type=”twitter” id=”858160999555268608″ account=”NIUNorthernStar” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Former NIU wide receiver Kenny Golladay was just drafted 96th overall by the Detroit Lions. Congratulations <a href="">@XIXJR19</a></p>— Northern Star (@NIUNorthernStar) <a href="">April 29, 2017</a></blockquote>”}}

Standing at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, Golladay was given pre-draft workouts with various teams, including the Chicago Bears. However, one of the Bears’ NFC North rivals decided to draft the Huskie receiver.

Golladay was the only wide receiver in NIU history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2015 and 2016. In those two seasons, Golladay tallied 160 receptions, 18 receiving touchdowns and averaged over 14 yards per catch, according to NIU Media Services.

After transferring to NIU as a junior in 2015 from the University of North Dakota, Golladay was named to the Mid-American Conference All-Second Team. He then followed that by receiving conference First Team honors in 2016 during his senior year.

In a conference call with the Lions after being drafted, Golladay said he is excited to play for a team close to his home of Chicago.

“It feels amazing, man,” said Golladay, according to a Detroit Lions media advisory obtained by NIU Media Services. “I’m definitely excited, [and] words can’t even explain it.”

Golladay boosted his projected draft stock at the combine, headlined by a 4.5-second 40-yard dash.

Even with his speed, Golladay thinks other parts of his game will help him in the future and make him excel.

“To be honest, I’m just blessed with my size,” said Golladay, according to the media advisory. “I feel like I use [my size] well, and I’m just trying to make a play when my number’s called. That’s all I’m really here for.”

{{tncms-inline type=”twitter” id=”858162101872971776″ account=”NIUAthletics” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Congratulations to <a href="">@NIU_Football</a> WR Kenny Golladay on being selected by the <a href="">@Lions</a> in the 2017 NFL Draft! <a href="">#NIU2NFL</a> <a href=""></a></p>— NIU Huskie Athletics (@NIUAthletics) <a href="">April 29, 2017</a></blockquote>”}}

During his two seasons with NIU, Golladay played with six quarterbacks: Drew Hare, Anthony Maddie, Ryan Graham, Daniel Santacaterina, Christian Blake and Tommy Fiedler. Golladay said he had to make adjustments on the fly during these seasons.

“[It’s] really just [about] keeping my head down and [continuing] to grind,” said Golladay, according to the advisory. “I can’t control [anything] that’s going on in the quarterback room. I’ve just got to make it easier for the quarterback, and that’s getting open. So if we have a younger quarterback back there, I put more pressure on myself to make sure I get open.”

{{tncms-inline type=”twitter” id=”858379974109220866″ account=”HuskieWire” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Photos: Former Huskies and current Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay over the past two years. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>— HuskieWire (@HuskieWire) <a href="">April 29, 2017</a></blockquote>”}}

Golladay said he hopes to learn a lot from the Lions’ current starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and was told he has a chance to contend for the third-string wide receiver spot as a rookie. Golladay would hope to play behind the Lions’ current starting wide receivers in Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, according to ESPN.

“Coach [Robert] Prince definitely talked to me about it [and] the challenge that’s ahead of it,” Golladay said, according to the media advisory. “I’ve taken on many challenges, and I’m just ready to take on the next, just ready to put my best foot forward and go to work.”

Golladay will be joining a Lions team that finished 9-7 last season and lost to the Seattle Seahawks 26-6 in the wild-card round of the playoffs.