Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the Bears' picks: Round 1/20 - Kyle Long, OG, 6-6, 313, Oregon...Developmental project who started just four games in FBS program and played in just 11. Former baseball pitcher who was drafted in the 23rd round out of high school by the White Sox. Started collegiate career as a pitcher on a baseball scholarship at Florida State but flunked out. Transferred to Saddleback JC, where he played defensive end in 2010 and moved to tackle in 2011. Father is Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long; brother is Rams defensive end Chris Long. Excellent athlete for the position. Ran a 4.94 40 at the Combine, best among all guards and 15.8 percent body fat was best among all linemen. Will be 25 in December. - The Sports Xchange
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If the Long name rings a bell, it should. Kyle is the younger brother of St. Louis Rams Pro Bowl defensive end Chris Long, and his father is Pro Football Hall of Fame member and FOX Sports analyst Howie 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.
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.
Switched to the offensive line at Saddleback for the 2011 season, where he played for head coach Mark McElroy ... Initially a defensive end, recorded 16 tackles, two tackles for a loss and one sack in 2010.
Prepped at At. Anne's-Belfield High School under head coach John Blake ... Participated in the U.S. Army All-American game as a high school senior ... Recorded 45 tackles in his junior season ... Named to the Division 2 all-state VISSA first team as both an offensive and defensive lineman as a junior in 2006 ... Helped St. Anne's Belfield to back-to-back state championships his final two prep seasons ... Was a two-sport All-American in high school and earned all-state honors for both football and baseball in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons ... Was also a very accomplished pitcher and first baseman ... Accepted a baseball scholarship at Florida State out of high school.
Parents: Howie and Diane Long. Family: Two brothers. Major: Sociology. Brother, Chris, plays defensive end for the NFL's St. Louis Rams and father, Howie, was an all-pro defensive end for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.
Draft Scout Player News
04/28/13 - After being named a high school All-American in football and baseball, Bears first-round pick Kyle Long chose baseball because he wanted to be his own man, not Howie Long's kid. The middle of Howie's three sons thought: Why bother with the intense scrutiny and constant comparisons that come with playing the same sport as your Hall of Fame father? Why not make your own name in your own field?
Besides, baseball was Kyle's first love anyway, partly because in grade school, he wasn't allowed to play Pop Warner football because he was too big. Eventually he figured out he couldn't deny his heritage. But, as an offensive lineman, at least Kyle doesn't play the same position as his defensive end dad and older brother, Chris. He's accepted the scrutiny that he shunned earlier. "I was honestly trying to run from that microscope (in football)," the 6-6, 315-pound guard said. "I was under intense magnification, and I didn't know how to deal with it. I always thought that if I played football, those comparisons would never stop. "Now I'm happy with what I'm doing. There was a time when I tried to run away from that, but you can't run from your bloodlines. I'm a football player; it's in my DNA." - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - QUOTE TO NOTE: "When I was at Florida State, I could hear the football helmets smacking and the whistles blowing and the coaches screaming. There wasn't a lot of that on the baseball field. I knew I was not in the right place." -- Bears first-round pick Kyle Long, who first enrolled at Florida State as a pitcher before transferring to Saddleback Junior College and then Oregon to play football. - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - Bears believe lineage, upside on Long's side...Most analysts will look at the Bears' first-round pick as a reach for a player who is a project, but that's not the way they see it. Few anticipated the Bears would choose the eighth offensive lineman of the first round with the 20th pick, but they chose inexperienced-yet-athletic Oregon guard Kyle Long, the younger son of Raiders Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long. "This is the type of athlete and player we have targeted," said Bears general manager Phil Emery. "He's a fast, tough, dynamic athlete. We thought he was the best offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl."
Howie's 6-foot-6, 313-pound son played just one season of major college football and only started four games. He went to Florida State as a pitcher and was drafted in the 23rd round by the White Sox in the 23rd round of the 2008 MLB draft. But, after finding trouble and leaving Florida State -- in Long's words, because of "chemical dependency" he felt he needed to leave Tallahassee."There was stuff I needed to work on personally," he said, pointing to a DUI on Jan. 3, 2009 as a tipping point in his life. - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - Long decided to follow in the footsteps of his famous father and brother Chris, a defensive end with the St. Louis Rams. So he transferred to Saddleback Junior College, where he played defensive end his first year (2010) and then converted to O-line and started 10 games in 2011.
Long is considered an excellent athlete for an offensive lineman, especially for a guard, and his NFL bloodlines are a plus. His 4.94 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine was the third fastest among all offensive linemen and the best among guards. His 15.8 percent body fat was the best among all offensive linemen. "Both his dad and his brother feel he's the best athlete in the family," Emery said. "He's got great agility, great lateral agility; very good feet." "I don't know about that," Long said in a conference call late Thursday night. "They might have just been blowing smoke. I'm standing next to a guy right here doing dishes who was a pretty good athlete -- my dad." - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - According to Emery, based on the system the Bears use to evaluate athleticism, Long tested higher than any guard in the past 12 years and among the top five tackles over that time. In addition to his academic difficulties at Florida State, Long was arrested for a DUI in January of 2009. "I was a young kid and dealing with stuff off the field," he said. "I'm 4 1/2 years removed from it. I was very straightforward with the Bears. I believe I'm a stand-up guy, honest forthright and blunt."
Emery was more than satisfied by Long's explanation of those events in face-to-face meetings. "All of us have fallen," Emery said. "But do we get up? He's very much a leader. He explained it in detail. He was very young, 18 (at the time of the DUI). He understood the direction he had to go in." Long will begin his Bears career as a guard, and despite his inexperience, Emery sees Long as a versatile player who could eventually factor at the more valuable left tackle position. - The Sports Xchange