Weight: 245 pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.61 seconds
Bench Press: 22 reps
He’s the type of athlete and player that we have targeted – fast, tough, dynamic athlete, a productive athlete.
Bears GM Phil Emery describing first round pick Kyle Long.
A two-sport athlete in high school, Kyle Long decided to play baseball at Florida State, and with a mid-90s fastball as a lefty, who could blame him for choosing his first love? But that only lasted a year as he struggled with academics and had a DUI arrest.
After returning home, Kyle enrolled at Saddleback Junior College where he played for two seasons, first at defensive end (16 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack) and then switching over to the offensive line in his second season at the junior college level.
Characterized by Howie and Chris as the most athletic member of the family, it was easy to understand why Kyle was highly recruited out of Saddleback despite his lack of experience. He signed with the Ducks amid some fanfare and served as a valuable backup at left tackle before switching to left guard midway through the season. We wound up playing in 11 games for the Ducks in 2012, starting four games (all at left guard). Long petitioned the NCAA for another year of eligibility but was denied and therefore finds himself headed to the NFL with just four career starts at the FCS level.
Big, physical and remarkably athletic, Long possesses the upside to warrant early round consideration. He is, however, quite inexperienced and therefore a significant roll of the dice if selected any earlier than Day Three.
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.
RD 1 (19th) Shea McClellin 6-3, 260 Boise State DE/OLB - Whether McClellin can prove to be an every down DE — which is what Lovie wants McClellin to be — is a big question mark. McClellin was targeted for OLB in a 3-4 scheme. What McClellin may provide the Bears is the ability to kick DE/DT Israel Idonije down to DT, putting three pass rushers (Peppers, McClellin, & Idonije) on the field in passing situations. The Bears were ranked 28th in the NFL versus the pass and 19th with only 33 sacks in ‘11. Three pass rushers should provide more pressure on opposing QBs, but this is a wait-and-see approach.
RD 2 (45th) Alshon Jeffery 6-4, 220 South Carolina WR - Jeffery could provide the biggest impact for the Bears in 2012. I imagine him backing up Brandon Marshall at the Weak side (X) position to start. Jeffery can watch how it is done from one of the best. It will be easier for the veteran to learn both X & Z (Flanker) positions than to overload Jeffery. All rookies learn at a different rate and this has been a problem area for the Bears in the past due to Martz’ system, but maybe no longer with new OC Mike Tice’s simplified approach moving forward.
The Bears’ two best offensive personnel groupings will be: “Regular” (X, Y, Z & 2 backs) which equates to Jeffery, Davis, Marshall, Klutz and Forte or Bush all on the field and the other grouping is 3 WRs (X, Y, Z, W & 1back) which would be Jeffery, Davis, Marshall, Bennett and Forte or Bush all on the field. Either grouping is a monster lineup that would be difficult to defend. It also coincides with what Tice did while coaching the Vikings.
Sorry Hester fans, Devin will have a role, but more of the package type.
RD 3 (79th) Brandon Hardin 6-3, 217 Oregon State S/CB - Missed all last year with a broken shoulder. The Bears felt comfortable with their medical due diligence and research to select Hardin. Safety has been a revolving door for the Bears and history suggests Hardin may have to contribute at some point in 2012. Any impact will more likely be on special teams or if the Bears utilize “Big Nickel,” which is three safeties on the field to combat “Heavy” personnel on offense. Hardin will start out as the third or fourth safety on the Bear’s depth chart.
RD 4 (111th) Evan Rodriguez 6-4 FB/H back Temple - Rodriguez could potentially carve out a nice role and playing time if he can pick up the offense quickly and of course will contribute on special teams.
No Guarantees/Practice Squad
RD 6 (184th) Isaiah Frey 5-11, 188 CB Nevada / RD 7 (220th) selection Greg McCoy 5-10, 180 TCU - There are no guarantees for Frey or McCoy. The additions of free agents CB Kelvin Hayden and CB Jonathan Wilhite will provide some great battles in training camp to make the team. These two better strap up their special teams hat to scrap like crazy to make the squad. Both may potentially be practice squad material.
No terms disclosed yet, but he’s the first pick of the NFL draft class to sign. Bears are notorious for signing their draft picks quickly, but this is one of the fastest deals ever done.
What leads you to not draft a specific position — and you have to look at all the positions — is what players are on the board who can get us there the quickest? I will say (wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the second round), was a shining light up there. He was the highest-rated player on our board and the highest player available to make plays that determine winning games. When you do that, some positions are going to go by the wayside, whether it’s O-line, whatever. You take the best player who’s going to make the most plays for you, who gives you the best chance of winning.