Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scouting the 2013 NFL Draft: Bears Pick Kyle Long

Now that the NFL Draft is over, it is time for everyone to grade drafts, which is stupid, and yet we all feel like we must do it. It's the reason we overreact to one week of baseball games or a single football game. That's what we do; we jump to conclusions, because despite us having very limited evidence of anything, WE JUST KNOW. What everyone knows right now is the Bears had a poor draft. All that really means is that the internet and ESPN experts did not expect them to go as high.

Here's the thing about every pick in the draft. They are all RIDICULOUSLY good at football. When you read my report on Jonathan Bostic, it is incredibly negative, but then I saw a skill that very few people have, and I could envision why the Bears front office would be excited about him.

Now it's time to break down a big nasty. There's nothing more fun than the play of the offensive line. That is why everyone should read Ben Muth on Football Outsiders. I always wanted to be an offensive lineman. Unfortunately, I am 5'9" and have bulked up to 160 pounds at age 28, so my dream was shattered before it ever began. Kyle Long does not have this issue as he is 6'6" and over 300 pounds. Those are the good numbers. The bad numbers are 4 and 25. 4 is the number of starts he had in college, and 25 is how old he will be turning during his rookie season. Still, let's not get caught up in all that and look at the tape of his game against USC.

After watching the first minute of tape, I realized that it is really hard to analyze guard play. It's a lot of them just holding their ground and me saying, "Well, that looked solid." He does look athletic when he pulls, and he showed a good motor of always trying to find guys to block until the play was over.

What makes it even more difficult is that Oregon runs outside a ton, and runs a lot of zone read plays, so judging a guard when there isn't a whole lot of pounding the ball up the middle makes it even tougher.

His hand work looked like it could use some work as a lot of time he would just try to shoulder bump people in his pass protection.

This was the best play I saw when breaking things down.

He does a great job of sealing off the defensive tackle with help from his center, and then peeling off and getting enough of the safety to help his running back get in the end zone.

Him being 6'6" at guard definitely hurt him at times. Defensive tackles were able to get under him, which made it impossible for him to move them out of the way. I am a fan of a college program that has every great prospect start at guard before moving them to the outside, and it works pretty well for them, but it does make me think that his long-term future is probably at tackle.

So what do the Bears have? Potential. I think he has the skillset to step in and be a near average guard to start off. With his size and athleticism, I think the Bears are hoping that he is able to progress and move outside. This was a pick based a lot on potential. Pick #20 seemed a little early for that, but if everything pans out how the Bears envision, they will look like geniuses. All we can do is wait and see.

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