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2016 Rams Roster Preview: WR Deon Long Could Surprise in Group of High Risk Young Receivers

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He bounced around a lot in his football career. Can he buck that trend and stick with the Rams?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If you look at former Maryland WR Deon Long's collegiate career out of context, you might get the impression that he was loaded with red flags. He attended 5 schools between high school and when he signed with the Rams - not to mention his time with the Titans last season. Typically players do this when they are a 'cancer' in the locker room and don't mesh well with teammates and coaches.

That couldn't be further from the truth with Long. If anything is to blame for him transferring so frequently, it's his academics paired with loyalty (almost to a fault) to his high school coach - who went out of his way to write a letter of recommendation of sorts to all 32 NFL teams. CBS Sports had a great piece on it here if you're interested in a bit more of Long's history.

Long shared time with Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon Diggs while at Maryland and put up similar production. That's promising news for Rams fans as Diggs put up 720 yards with Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings play a similar style as the Rams and it's easy to argue that Jared Goff has more arm talent than Bridgewater.

The downside is that he is a year removed from that production. After signing with the Titans last season, he was a part of the initial roster cuts and was not a part of their practice squad.

Roster Battle

Long finds himself in a similar position as Paul McRoberts (roster preview). He has a lot of upside, but also has some questions to answer in camp. He falls into a group of young and talented WRs that all have various question marks. We've already touched on McRoberts and J.J. Worton (roster preview), and Duke Williams will fall into this group as well.

The Rams seem to have made a priority of adding low risk / high reward players in the 2016 offseason - he who can show the most in camp will likely walk away with a roster spot.

Expectations

If you didn't already surmise as much, I'm a fan of Long. His predicament seems to be a combination of unusual circumstances and being a bit too loyal. That being said, he still has to show that he can compete at the NFL level. There's a reason he didn't stick with the Titans last season.

If he wants to beat out the aforementioned competition, he will have to show why he was considered a top recruit at multiple times throughout his collegiate career. As is the case with all of these young receivers, becoming Goff's favorite target - even in practice - won't hurt your chances of sticking around.

Chances of Making Roster (3/10)

Of the WRs that will be covered in the initial phase of our roster preview, I like Long's chances of making the final roster the best. He will face some stiff competition, but has the ability to meet the challenge. After failing to hitch his wagon to Marcus Mariotta in Tennessee, he's hoping that he has better luck forming a bond with Goff.