Oregon’s Kyle Long is an extremely athletic offensive line prospect. He has experience playing both offensive tackle and guard. Even after adding Jermon Bushrod, the Chicago Bears have a need to upgrade the talent across this unit.
The most attractive thing Long, who was selected by Chicago with the 20th overall pick, brings to the table is upside. He features the athleticism and balance to eventually develop into a starting left tackle. However, if he wants to make an immediate impact, it’ll likely come at the guard spot.
Long’s ability to play guard at the next level won’t be an easy transition. He has a tendency to play too upright, which is a bigger issue because of his 6’6” frame. The coaching staff will need to work with him in order to help him obtain and maintain leverage.
It’s possible that general manager Phil Emery also brought Long into the mix to add some competition at the right tackle spot. Both J’Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi haven’t shown anything to suggest that they’re a safe bet to succeed.
However, this pick is a big reach for a team that needed to add talent at several positions. There will be pressure on Long to find a way to make an immediate impact. A second draft adding a rotational/backup player won’t bode well for Emery.
The below tweet by player-turned-journalist Matt Bowen shows that others feel a littler underwhelmed by this pick.
Matt Bowen @MattBowen41
#Bears address the O-Line with Kyle Long, but left some talent out there with the DT position & TE Tyler Eifert.4/26/2013, 2:31:10 AM
This pick really points to the Bears employing a needs-based draft strategy.