Failed out of Florida State, thus didn't give time to classwork
Needs to improve overall technique
Will have a bigger learning curve
Summary: Every NFL draft features some late-bloomer prospects who years in the future turn out to be excellent value picks. Long could be the epitome of that from the 2013 NFL Draft class. The bloodlines are there for a great NFL player. Long is the son of Raiders great Howie Long and the brother of Rams star defensive end Chris Long. Both Howie and Chris have said that Kyle is the best athlete in the family.
Kyle Long's career took awhile to get started. As a standout left-handed pitcher, he turned down the Chicago White Sox to go to Florida State. Long had academic issues and a DUI that got him bounced out of the program. He played in the junior college ranks before landing with Oregon for one season. Long applied for another year of eligibility but was denied by the NCAA.
Long had a phenomenal season in 2012. The senior was a devastating run-blocker as he blasted open lanes for Kenjon Barner. Long also did well as a pass-protector. Oregon used some wide splits among its offensive linemen and Long did a nice job blocking in space. The one game where he had some issues came against Stanford when the tough Cardinal front seven held Oregon in check. Long finished the season well after that outing. He pulled out of the Senior Bowl due to illness.
There is no doubt that Long has a great skill set for the NFL. He is a superb athlete who is very quick and agile. Long moves extremely well to hit blocks on the second level and will be good at pulling as a pro. He is explosive out of his stance to get to blocks on linebackers, too. Long is a perfect fit for a zone-blocking system at the next level.
Long's size and athletic ability have some teams thinking he could play tackle, which is a definite possiblity.
Transitioning to the NFL could take some time for Long. He needs to work on his blocking technique as a run- and pass-blocker. Long also has a big learning curve to adjust to NFL defensive tackles after playing only one season of big-time college football. He may not win a starting spot immediately, but in time, he should develop into a good starter with the potential to be great.
Because of Long's great skill set, he could be a late first-round pick. If Long falls out of the first round, he shouldn't last long on Day 2.
Player Comparison: Jahri Evans. This is a tough comparison for Long considering Evans is in the running as one of the best guards in the NFL. However, Evans is extremely quick and agile with the strength to win at the point of attack. Long has those same attributes. Evans (6-4, 318) is similar size to Long. While Evans was a fourth-round pick out of Bloomsburg, Long should go in the first couple of rounds.
NFL Matches: Green Bay, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Detroit, Arizona, St. Louis, Tennessee, San Diego, Dallas, New York Giants, Chicago, Cleveland
There are a lot of teams that could take Long as a late first-round or second-round pick.
The Packers could consider Long late in the first round. They need help on the inside of the offensive line and he and his athleticism would be a great fit in their blocking scheme.
Long could be the best player available for Jacksonville at the top of Round 2. The Jaguars have nothing on the inside of their offensive line and Long would be an immediate upgrade.
Philadelphia needs offensive line help. If the Eagles take another position in the first round, Long would make a lot of sense for them in the second round to improve their offensive line. Long would be reunited with college coach Chip Kelly.
The Lions also need to improve their interior blocking. Long would help Detroit to run the ball and provide nice interior pass protection for Matthew Stafford. If Detroit takes a defensive end on Day 1, Long could be in play in Round 2.
The Cardinals guards are terrible. If Arizona takes a pass-rusher in Round 1, the team could grab Long early in the second round.
Tennessee has to upgrade its interior offensive line this offseason. Long would make complete sense for the Titans and could really help Chris Johnson.
St. Louis needs interior offensive line help and has Long's older brother Chris Long on the roster. Kyle Long would be a nice fit for the Rams. San Diego needs guard help badly. Long would be a great fit in the Chargers' new zone-blocking scheme.
The Cowboys and Giants both need help on the offensive line. If either team drafts other positions in the first round, each team Long could be a target in Round 2.
If Long falls past those teams, the Bears would make a lot of sense. They need help on the inside of their offensive line.
Lastly, the Browns are a team that could make a move for Long. If Cleveland trades down in the first round and picks up a second-round pick, Long could be the target. The Browns like players with size and speed, have a need at guard and Long would be a good blocker for Trent Richardson.