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St. Louis Rams Top 10 Draft Successes: #10 - Chris Long

Picking the St. Louis Rams top ten draft picks, successful picks, is much harder than I thought it would be. Even limiting this to little countdown to the team after the move to St. Louis, the front office had some pretty solid draft picks. A quick note about the methodology. You won't find many of the more recent picks on the top ten list. Why? Because they really haven't had a chance to make an impact yet...impact and service time counts. 

But tonight's list does start off with a more recent pick, the one that finally helped right the course of the franchise after a string of failures in the middle part of the decade. The decision to pick Chris Long with the second overall pick in 2008 was Devaney's first bold move. Hired to run the team's draft, a big step on his way to the GM job a year later, Devaney and then-head coach Scott Linehan decided on Long over a LSU's Glenn Dorsey, a player most considered to be a much better pick. 

Long didn't live up to his draft status right out of the gate, though he did collect 4 sacks in his rookie year and managed to start 16 games. His sophomore season got off to a rough start, and transitioning to a new coach's defensive system is always a tall order. But then, they moved him over to the left side and things started to click. Long only had 5 sacks in 2009, all coming in the second half of the season, but he was consistently getting to opposing quarterbacks. It was a sign of things to come. 

Last year, Long broke through, collecting 8.5 sacks, commanding the attention of blockers and allowing teammates to get to the QB. The Rams defense, which started the season with a big question mark over the defensive line, turned into one of the league's top units in terms of sacks. And Chris Long established himself as the new face of the Rams defense.

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