The Chicago Bears turned some heads at the 2013 NFL Draft when general manager Phil Emery decided to select Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long with their first-round pick. Long wasn’t considered a guy that would go that high, and many projected him to go in the later first round or early second round.
Son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, Kyle has plenty to prove in the NFL. He has a pedigree to uphold; a legacy, if you will.
Emery did tons of research prior to the draft, and gave Long the highest grade out of any lineman he had looked at in the last few years, according to his own formula. Long is 6’6”, 315 pounds with phenomenal footwork and plenty of strength. When hearing that, how could you not like him?
Well, then again, J’Marcus Webb is even bigger than that — enough said.
So far throughout training camp and the preseason, Long has played exceptionally well. In his most recent outing against the San Diego Chargers, Long displayed everything you would want to see out of a starting guard in the NFL. He helped open some big holes for the running backs, which were rarely there last season the way the offensive line performed.
What was most impressive to me, was Long’s physicality against the Chargers. He has got one heck of a motor on him. He reminds you of one of those guys that defensive linemen will not like playing against, because he takes his play very seriously. From the time the ball is snapped until the whistle blows, he’s trying to put his man off his feet and in a hurry.
His feet don’t stop. They move quick and precisely. He is picking up a very complex offense at an intelligent level, according to head coach Marc Trestman, and so far there’s not much to criticize when looking at the rookie’s play.
While the majority of analysts and experts didn’t think Long was the best pick for the Bears at number 20, he is proving otherwise. Emery appears to be somewhat of an evil genius with the way he does his research and plans out his roster. If Long’s play so far is any indication of his potential as a starter, I can’t wait to see what he does this season.