First Round, 20th Pick
Oregon's Kyle Long has been one of the faster-rising prospects through the draft process. His athleticism and the fact he has experience at offensive tackle makes him an intriguing prospect. The NFL is always looking for players who can protect the team's most important asset—the quarterback.
This scouting report breaks down the different areas of Long's game and shows how he fits at the next level.
| + Raw Athleticism ||- Limited time against High-Level Competition|
|+ Experience at Tackle and Guard||- Inconsistent Technique|
|+ Nasty Streak||- Plays too High|
Height 6’6” Weight 313 lbs Arm Length 33 3/8” 40 time 4.94
Intangibles/Character: Kyle Long’s family has a strong football background. His father, Howie Long, is a former NFL player and Hall of Famer. He also has a brother, Chris Long, who currently plays for the St. Louis Rams.
This type of family history means that Long has plenty of insight on how to succeed as a pro. He knows the hard work that needs to be put in to ensure success.
System: Long’s natural athleticism and strong upper body make him an ideal fit for a zone blocking system. His experience at Oregon also afforded him an opportunity to gain a feel for how this type of attack works.
The zone-blocking scheme typically asks the offensive linemen to engage the defender and seal him from the play. It requires a quick burst off the ball and the upper body strength to turn that defender. Long possesses the key attributes needed to fit this system.
Pass Blocking: Despite his natural athleticism, Long has some holes as far as his pass protection is concerned. The biggest issue surrounds his tendency to play too high. He struggles to consistently keep his pads low.
This allows the defender to get into his body and have success with a bull rush. The clip below shows Long getting pushed back into the pocket and the quarterback’s line of vision.
Issues with pad level have a negative impact for all positions along the offensive line, but it’s a real problem on the interior. This is why Long will need to focus on keeping low if he has any hope of playing guard at the next level.
The one area where Long excels as a pass-blocker is his ability to keep a wide base. This helps his balance and ability to adjust to inside counter moves. The image below shows how he keeps that wide base throughout his shuffle.
Run Blocking: As will be a common theme in this scouting report, Long has the potential to be a real effective run-blocker if he can tighten up his technique. His upside in this area of his game starts with the mean streak he displays.
He consistently works to the whistle and looks to finish off blocks. Long also does a good job keeping his legs moving in an attempt to get a push off the line.
The issue again surrounds his struggles with keeping his pads down. Long’s upright approach limits his leverage and allows the defender into his body. Leverage and inside hand position are the key to winning at the point of attack.
Blocking in Space: An offensive lineman who hopes to succeed as a tackle needs to possess the ability to hold up in space. This has a lot to do with foot speed, good change of direction ability and fluid movements.
This image shows how Long remains balanced as he protects the edge. He’s able to then mirror and change direction as needed.
One concern surrounding this part of Long’s game is the way Oregon runs its offense. They run a spread attack that features a lot of running plays involving the quarterback. This really makes it difficult on the defensive linemen to get a good feel for the flow of the game.
Long benefited from this because the defensive end couldn’t lose contain or get too far up field, thus making it easier to protect the edge.
Hand Fighting: This is a part of Long’s game that needs some improvement. He doesn’t consistently get his hands inside the body of the defender. The clip below shows his hands on the outside shoulder, which will cause issues for him at the next level.
Inside hands are needed in order to help control the movement of the defender. The officials also have a tendency to call more holding penalties if they see a blocker’s hands on the shoulder pads.
Recovery: Long’s wide base and solid balance is what gives him the ability to react to counter moves. However, he needs to do a better job regaining his balance after receiving the initial jolt from the defender.
He’s too susceptible to the bull rush, and must work to gain better position in order to avoid getting pushed back into the pocket.
Technique: The biggest area of concern surrounding Long’s technique is his upright playing style. He doesn’t show the natural bend or ability to consistently keep a low pad level. This will impact his ability to anchor after contact, gain leverage in the running game and get the most out of his athletic ability.
Future Role/Versatility: Long’s struggles keeping a low pad level really hinders his versatility. His 6’6” frame doesn’t help this situation either. He’ll really struggle if he’s asked to move inside to play guard. The ideal course of action would be to have him start out at right tackle, and slowly evaluate if he has the foot speed to move to the left side.
Draft Projection: Late-second to early-third round