Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long is the son of Hall-of-Famer Howie and the brother of Rams defensive end Chris. Kyle originally committed to Florida State to play baseball. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox, but transferred to Saddlebeck Junior College to play football. After some time at defensive end, Long again transferred to Oregon, where he started just four games in 2012.
The obvious knock on long is that he has very little experience playing college football. With just four career starts at a major school, Long is really an unknown at this point. He played both left tackle and left guard for the Ducks in 2012.
Long is an extremely athletic lineman—the best athlete in the family, according to his father—who excels in space. He can pull with ease and looks natural when asked to get to the second level. Long possesses elite balance and flexibility; he really looks like a big linebacker moving around. Due to Oregon’s quick-hitting scheme, Long didn’t have to hold his blocks long. He frequently comes off of his defender early, and that’s something he’ll need to change at the next level.
In the passing game, Long can mirror well from the interior and he typically maintains a solid base. At 6-6, 313 pounds, Long has the frame to move outside, but he’ll need some practice there before he’s thrown into the mix. He certainly has the quickness and athleticism to play offensive tackle, but he’s incredibly raw at this point. Long is probably best-suited for a zone-blocking scheme. He doesn’t dominate defenders at the point-of-attack, and when Long isn’t asked to move laterally or explode to the second level, he can struggle.
Overall, Long is an obvious high-risk/high-reward selection. He had a DUI in 2009 that teams will need to look into, but there shouldn’t be too many character concerns. The questions for Long are 1) can he translate his athleticism to the field and 2) can he play offensive tackle?
NFL Comparison: Kevin Boothe
With similar measurements to Boothe, Long has the ability to potentially play anywhere along the offensive line. Long is probably a superior athlete, but again, his inexperience is an issue.
The most likely destination for Long will be a team drafting in the mid-second to early-third. Long’s range is admittedly wide because a team could fall in love with his upside and versatility, or he might fall because he’s a project.
Fit In Dallas
Long is an intriguing prospect for the Cowboys because of his versatility. With so many holes along the offensive line, Long could be an eventual replacement for a number of players. The problem is that Long will take time to develop, and the ‘Boys might not have that time. I don’t think they’ll consider Long in the second round, but he could very much be in play in the third.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.