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Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long has been trending up the past few seasons and is set to enter the 2022 campaign as the starter once again alongside fellow linebacker Zach Cunningham.
Long’s rise up the depth chart and his stellar play overall has gone unnoticed outside of Nashville, so it’s good to see Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson showing him some love.
Monson ranked Long, who has been an absolute steal since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft, as the No. 17 linebacker in the NFL going into 2022, placing him in the “young ascending” tier in the rankings.
Long wasn’t the only Titans linebacker to make the list, though. Cunningham landed even higher than Long, coming in at No. 11 in the “best of the rest” tier.
Cunningham is one of the most run-focused linebackers in the game, but his PFF coverage grade has declined throughout his career, dripping from average at best to outright poor over the last two seasons.
In 2021, Long appeared in 10 games (nine starts) and was his usual solid self against the run. Long also improved in pass coverage, tallying career-bests in completion percentage (70.7%) allowed, passer rating allowed (61.0), passes defended (six) and interceptions (two).
“His ability to be here, to work and compete, David is a passionate player. I really appreciate that about him,” head coach Mike Vrabel said of Long recently. “I feel like our relationship has gotten better each and every year. We’re trying to harness some of that passion that he has. It’s just been good to see him grow in our scheme and understand what’s going on.”
The 2022 campaign will be a very important one for Long, as he’s set to hit free agency in 2023. If he can stay healthy and put together another season like he has in the past two, he should get himself a nice payday, whether it comes from the Titans or another team on the open market.