By now, you've all heard of Kyle Long, the younger brother of the St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long. For those who don't know about him, he's an offensive lineman that played on that fast paced Oregon team. I'll tell you, right off the bat, that it's easy picturing the Rams adding another Long to the roster. It's not just because he is Chris Long's brother, but he's also a solid player at a position where the Rams need help.
Kyle Long, took a different path to get to the NFL, unlike his older brother Chris Long and his dad Howie Long. He got a DUI in 2009, went back home, and then decided that football and not baseball was his sport moving forward. He decided to enroll at Saddleback Community College in Cal, and then he ended up in Oregon. You can read more on Kyle's story here.
When Long transferred to Oregon he switched to offensive line( he played on the defensive line in community college), He manned left tackle and left guard for Oregon, but he really doesn't have as much starting experience as the other offensive linemen in this draft, so honestly this rise from him was a little shocking. But after watching a couple clips on Kyle Long, I see why he is being mentioned more.
Here are a couple of scouting reports on Long.
The son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and current St. Louis Rams end Chris Long is making his name on the offensive line for the Ducks. The two-sport star in high school enrolled at Florida State to play baseball (he was a 23rd round pick of the White Sox in 2008), but struggles there caused him to regroup at home for a while before attending Saddleback Junior College. Even as a one-and-done contributor for the Ducks on the line, Long’s combination of size and athleticism won’t be ignored by NFL scouts, who will see his great potential as a starting guard or tackle.
STRENGTHS: Certainly looks the part. Possesses a naturally large frame with long arms. Impressive athlete. Light on his feet and possesses good balance and flexibility for a man of his size.
Very mobile. Often asked to block on the move in this scheme, demonstrating very good lateral agility and straight-line speed, as well as the short-area quickness to adjust and hit the moving target. Flashs some nastiness to his game. Doesn't back down from physical challenges. Has heavy hands and can stun opponents with his initial punch.
Keeps his legs driving on contact and can move defenders out of the hole. Enjoyed a solid performance in the Senior Bowl, itself, after missing a few days of practice with the flu. Clear talent and is just scratching the surface of his potential.
WEAKNESSES: Isn't the sum of his parts yet. Has rotated between left tackle and left guard over just two seasons playing on the offensive line and has been protected a bit by Oregon's quick-hitting scheme which rarely asks their offensive linemen to maintain blocks for very long.
Has a tendency to punch at his defender, rather than latch on and needs to develop better hand placement, in general. Athletic enough to adjust on the fly but lacks experience and is prone to mental errors against surprise stunts, blitzes.
Was unable to compete for the most important two days of practice at the Senior Bowl (Tuesday, Wednesday) due to a bout of the flu, missing out on a chance to impress scouts. His DUI charge while at Florida State will have to be investigated by teams.
Compares to: Jason Peters, OT, Philadelphia Eagles -- Peters was originally a defensive lineman before making the transition to tight end in college and ultimately emerging as a quality offensive tackle for the Bills (and later signing with the Eagles).
His impressive combination of size and athleticism gave him a shot at the NFL despite having no experience as an offensive lineman. Long is similarly large and athletic but has two years head start on Peters and, of course, has his famous family to help him get an opportunity in the league. A team willing to gamble on his significant upside could win big.
Kyle Long is raw. But he is oozing with talent and upside. You do notice that he does get pushed back into the quarterback and sometimes he does look lost during plays, and then he does the little things like like getting off a block when he has help and looking to block a linebacker at the next level. He looks like a left guard. He's not dominate in his run blocking, but he does block good, he's also good in pass protection, but I'd like to see him going head up against powerful defensive tackles and not get pushed back. He's an offensive line coach's dream, but he just doesn't have that experience starting.
Although I think Kyle Long would be a good fit for the Rams, especially because the Rams really need help at left guard, and Long has the potential to be a good player there. The issue becomes where should Kyle Long be drafted. If I was Les Snead, I would consider Kyle Long a steal in the 3rd round. But he could get drafted in the 2nd round, because of his upside and tools (height/weight/athleticism.
It's hard not to picture Long being a starting left guard for a "long" time in the NFL, it just comes down to who will be willing to develop this young mans technique.