Saturday was special for Jamal Agnew, not only because the San Diego cornerback was drafted by the Lions in the fifth round, but because he got to spend that moment with 20 friends and family, including his grandmother, Rosario Dorie, who is on hospice rest.
Agnew said his grandmother was speechless when she learned her grandson would fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.
"We all met up at her at her house and just celebrated," Agnew said in a conference call after being drafted. "She is beyond happy for me.
View photos of the Detroit Lions' fifth-round pick (165th overall), San Diego CB Jamal Agnew.
"I'm still in shock right now. Just for her to be able to witness that it just means so much to me and my family because she's the backbone of our family. That just means the world."
It's obvious Lions general manager Bob Quinn is serious about adding competition at the cornerback position heading into the 2017 training camp.
Quinn signed veteran DJ Hayden this offseason in free agency, and has now selected two cornerbacks in the first five rounds of the NFL draft. He took Florida's Teez Tabor in the second round and Agnew in round five.
Agnew was a first team all-conference point guard and a 100-meter champion as a sprinter in high school. He ran two 40-yard dashes at his pro day in the 4.3's.
He set a school record with 48 pass breakups as a four-year starter, and finished with 11 career interceptions. He plays more physical than his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame might suggest, which is something that was preached at San Diego.
"We were coached by Dale Lindsay at USD and he teaches us to be physical, and you definitely have to be smart and in the playbook 24/7," Agnew said. "That's just how I play and I feel like that's what the culture is in Detroit."
Agnew, who came to Detroit on one of the team's 30 pre-draft visits, has played a lot of football as a four-year starter, and will most likely look to compete in the slot. He could even break through as a return man, something the Lions have an opening for. Agnew averaged 12.7 yards per punt return last season with a 63-yard touchdown.