Offensive line and offensive tackle in particular is considered to be one of the deepest positions in the 2013 NFL Draft class. Potential starters can be found all the way into the later rounds of the selection depending on just which players are chosen where. That bodes well for any team that needs help at the position and it just so happens that the St. Louis Rams fit that criterion. Here is a look at a player that could be a quality starter in the near future if the team plays its cards right later this month.
Kyle Long, Tackle
While he is still raw, Long plays with flawless technique. His knee bend is always on point and he never gets off balance when attempting to anchor. The natural knack for pass blocking is definitely his forte as he has a kickslide technique that looks like a league veteran. Run blocking isn’t his strongest area, but his quickness to get to the second level is outstanding. Potential alone makes him intriguing with only one season’s worth of experience at the Division I level.
Long struggles to move defenders in the running game when asked to block head up. He often allows oncoming defenders to get their hands on him first putting him at a disadvantage. While his technique is good as far as knee bend goes, hand placement isn’t his strong suit as he has a tendency to grab too often which won’t go overlooked at the next level. He is definitely a project player that while presenting quite a high ceiling, the potential for a bust is also very much in play.
WHY DOES HE FIT?
Perhaps the first one here is obvious; the Rams already have a member of his family on the roster. Kyle is the brother of defensive end Chris. Howie Long’s offspring haven’t fallen very far from the tree as both of them have top notch football instincts. Off-field concerns do follow this younger version into the league however with his DWI arrest back in 2009 that forced him to go to community college. His perseverance and maturity since that incident should be seen as positive traits rather than negative ones moving forward.
Clearly the Rams don’t have an aversion to players with off-field baggage so Long won’t scare them off in that regard. He may be a work in progress, but with Rodger Saffold’s impending contract status and the recent acquisition of Jake Long on the left side, the Rams may look to bookend the offensive line with Longs this offseason.