Pros: Looks like a prototype of the athletic offensive lineman -- outstanding musculature, big legs, wide butt. As a guard or tackle, shows impressive pulling speed -- gets out of his stance quickly and he's on the move. Shows good lateral agility in slide protection. Truly impressive upper-body strength, especially for a guy as tall as he is who doesn't always pop up out of his stance as low as you'd like -- will occasionally take linemen and just bury them anyway. That attribute (plus his huge wingspan) allows him to take on one blocker with one hand while he moves upfield to deal with another. Good and rapidly improving pass-blocker -- Long drops back smoothly and obstructs anybody in front of him once he's set his base.
Cons: As you'd expect from a relative novice at his position, Long has some spatial awareness issues. Especially when he's asked to plant a defender off a pull or move to the second level, he doesn't always get all the moving parts in line in time to make the block. Will whiff in space at times, especially when he's circling back to block from the guard position. Needs work on leverage to be truly dominant as a run-blocker -- will come up too high out of his stance. Needs to drive more and strike less.
What he brings to the team: First-round upside, once he irons out a few things. Most of Long's dings seem to be related to two issues -- his inexperience on the offensive line in general, and the obvious (at least to me) fact that he looks far more comfortable as a tackle than as a guard. He has the functional strength to be an NFL guard over time, but he's got all the base attributes you'd want in a franchise left tackle, and once he has the finishing touches, what shows up on tape occasionally will be the norm: an athletic, aggressive, nasty blocker with an extreme will to succeed.
Was it the right pick? Definitely. Long fills the Bears' desperate need for a franchise left tackle over time. Just wait and see. He's special.
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