INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL isn't just made up of a bunch of superstars.
There are plenty of guys who can last a decade or so in the league because of their passion, heart and hustle. They outwork everybody else in order to survive and keep their jobs.
There are guys who have prototypical size, or can go from 0-to-60 in a split second, but then you've got your guys like Jordan Glasgow.
The former Michigan Wolverines linebacker and special teams standout doesn't have freak-of-nature athleticism, and he has what could be considered ho-hum size at 6-0 and 221 pounds, but through incredible effort, he worked his way up from a walk-on at Michigan to a starter at linebacker.
The Indianapolis Colts recognized that type of want-to in Glasgow and made him one of their sixth-round picks recently in the 2020 NFL Draft, picking him up at No. 213 overall.
Although Glasgow fully expected to be picked around the range he did, he couldn't help but develop a bit of a chip on his shoulder as he watched name after name come off the board in front of him.
"I heard a lot of positive things from a lot of different teams. I thought I was going to go I think in the sixth or late in the sixth. So I went around where I thought I would've gone if I was drafted," Glasgow told reporters after the draft. "But I saw a lot of people picked before me and that got me.
"Even though I went where I thought I was going to go and where I thought I should go. It got me excited and fired up to see how many people were picked before me and how many people that NFL teams think were better than me," Glasgow continued. "They may have been better than me in college but what matters is the work you put in now going forward. They're putting a little bit more energy into how I am looking at my process going forward."
During his time at Michigan, Glasgow started 15-of-52 games, totaling 140 tackles (10.0 for loss), 7.0 sacks, one forced fumble, two fumbles recovered, three pass breakups and one blocked kick. Pro Football Focus also credited him with 28 special teams takedowns.
Both on and off the field, Glasgow's effort has been undeniable. Off of it, he was named Academic All-Big Ten all four seasons and was given a U-M Athletic Academic Achievement during his redshirt season in 2015. He also was named CoSIDA Academic All-District three times as well as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2016.
For his work on the field, Glasgow was a national Butkus Award semifinalist in 2019, which is awarded to the top linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, as well as a Burlsworth Trophy candidate, which is given to the most outstanding college football player who began their career as a walk-on.
Michigan also gifted him with Roger Zatkoff Award, which is given to the team's top linebacker, and the Blue Collar Award, which is awarded to the team's hardest-working player.
As evidenced by his numerous academic achievements, Glasgow is a very sharp guy and is capable of picking up just about anything on the football field, whether it's defensively or on special teams.
Although his "home" position is linebacker, Glasgow got the opportunity to see some action (including two starts) at the Wolverines' "viper" position, which is basically a linebacker/edge defender/safety/slot defender hybrid. Former Michigan defenders like Jabrill Peppers, Khaleke Hudson and Josh Uche have also played the position.
"The viper position is basically a safety who can play in the box and play linebacker," Hudson said, per Cleveland.com. "You're able to come off the edge, blitz interior, cover tight ends and play deep safety. The position asks you to be able to do everything that you're asked to do as a defensive player."
That may clear up some of the confusion brought on during draft day when the television broadcast presented Glasgow as a safety, but the Colts turned in his name and position as a linebacker — it's because he's done both.
Glasgow is likely to stick at linebacker in the NFL, however, as he excels more when the game is in front of him and he doesn't have to put too much into deep coverage.
He is very instinctive and keeps his eyes on the ball, quickly processing when to attack. Glasgow has decent range to cover a wide slice of field, and can change direction well when defending the run.
One of Glasgow's most endearing traits is his effectiveness as a tackler, as he was actually the most-efficient linebacker in the country last year when it came to bringings guys down. Not Isaiah Simmons, Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen... it was Jordan Glasgow.
Where Glasgow is likely to make his hay in the NFL, though, is as a special teamer. While it doesn't sound like the most glorious position, we've seen elite special teamers in the NFL who are eventually signed to second and third contracts.
It's why guys like Matthew Slater and Justin Bethel have stuck around the NFL for a combined 20 years and have found their way to head coach Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. Slater and Bethel have 11 Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro nods between them, all as special teamers.
Another former Patriots player who made a living with elite special teams play? Current Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone.
If a player truly embraces his role and wants to become and elite special teams player, they can stick around for awhile.
That may be what the Colts get with Glasgow.
He already has a head start after earning Michigan's Special Teams Player of the Year award in 2017, as well as Special Teams Player of the Week six times throughout his career.
His football instincts and IQ, and his hustle and non-stop motor, are perfect for special teams. He can fly in to pressure punters and kickers on their attempts, he can block for his return men and he can cause problems for them on the other end as he chases down other teams' returners.
"Obviously, I know one of the reasons that I was drafted was for special teams," Glasgow said. "And I look forward to getting even closer with the special teams coordinator of the Colts and being able to work hand-and-hand with him. So I'm excited for what's to come. I'm sad that I can't go to Indianapolis tomorrow or over the next few days."
Glasgow has a couple of good examples already in how to be a tough, hard-working football player as his two older brothers, Graham (Denver Broncos) and Ryan (Cincinnati Bengals), are also in the NFL after carving out walk-on roles at Michigan like Jordan did.
"Yeah they've been good. I'm actually living with one at the moment and I'm seeing how he handles things, how he handles his body, how he handles his day-to-day operations," Glasgow said. "I've been able to learn a lot from him about what an NFL player and what a true professional really is.
"I think that Ryan – the one that I'm currently living with – does a tremendous job in terms of taking care of his body whether that be nutrition or the proper supplements to take. He's a real student of understanding what you can intake into your body to make you better," Glasgow continued. "Graham has a little bit more lax feel to him. I think that he's kind of taught me to slow down, relax and enjoy the process as it goes on. I've been doing what I can with both of them in terms of working out throughout this whole ordeal. It's been a great thing to go through with my two older brothers and be able to spend this time together before we're split apart for however long."
Get your first look at linebacker Jordan Glasgow after he was selected 213th overall by the Indianapolis Colts.
FIT WITH THE COLTS
The Colts do have an absolutely stacked group of linebackers, headlined by Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke, but the other veteran reserves — Matthew Adams, Zaire Franklin, E.J. Speed and Skai Moore — have all done extensive work on special teams.
While Glasgow's base position with the Colts will be listed as a linebacker, the expectation is likely going to be that he comes in and carves out a role as a special teamer like the others.
"We think Jordan Glasgow has got top special teams ability in this league," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said after drafting Glasgow. "He'll play linebacker for us, but he's got a chance to be a really special core special teams player and those are hard to find."
As mentioned, stud special teams players can play at an elite level and become their own kind of shadow superstar, similar to what Slater and Bethel have done in their careers, as well as Ventrone.
All Glasgow is looking for is a shot so that he can take it and then control whatever he can control from there.
"A lot of teams say no matter where you're drafted, you have an equal opportunity to compete for a job with someone who was drafted in the first, second, third or fourth round," he said. "Even if that isn't necessarily true and even if there is some preconceived notions with potential position in the draft – like you said, I'm used to that kind of preconceived notion.
"Early on in my college career, I'm used to going through it. I mean I'm used to changing people's minds about me," Glasgow said. "If someone has a bad opinion about me, I look forward to changing that. I'm just going to try and do the best that I can moving forward."