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The ‘Wow’ factor: Bears’ pick of Long raises eyebrows
Chris Berman’s reaction as soon as Kyle Long was announced as the Bears’ first-round draft pick said it all:
Whether you liked the pick or not, there was a definite ”wow” factor with the Bears’ selection of Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long with the 20th pick of last night’s first round. It’s not that its a bad pick, but premature. Long was rated a second-round pick by most reputable draft analysts.
Even most critics acknowledge that Long could be an impact player and just what the Bears need. But — and I’m exaggerating to make the point –it’s like if the San Francisco 49ers drafting Joe Montana in the first round instead of the third in 1979. One of the greatest draft picks of all time. But they did not have to make it that soon (and they did not). That’s the most legitimate argument against Long at No. 20.
With that in mind, here is a compilation of reviews by various media outlets on the Bears’ selection of Kyle Long in the first round:
Chris Berman, ESPN: “Wow.”
Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN: “Kyle Long should help the Bears, but I’m taking Eifert [at No. 20] if I was them.”
Todd McShay, ESPN: “This is a boom or bust pick. He has loads of potential. The bloodlines are there. You look at his body of work. He was drafted in the 23rd round of the baseball draft. The little bit of tape that we saw of him, he improved a lot at Oregon and I thought at the end of the year was playing at a a very high level. But he had some struggles at the Senior Bowl. There are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to Kyle Long. If he pans out and he plays to his potental, I think the Bears get a real good pick here. But they’re taking a chance at a point in this draft where there are a lot of proven players they could have selected. We’re going to have to wait and find out on this one.”
Matt Bowen, WSCR-AM: “They left a lot of talent out there. I understand the need for offensive linemen. But … draft the best player on your board. Kyle [Long] does not have a higher grade than Sylvester Williams, Sharrif Floyd or Tyler Eifert.”
Hub Arkush, WSCR-AM: “Phil Emery just blew that pick. I don’t like Kyle Long in the second round. Yeah, Howie’s his dad and Chris is his brother. And he’s a big body who was a classic underachiever … I was bummed with Shea McClellin last year. This makes that look like they [drafted] Barry Sanders. I’m a little taken aback by this one. It’s disappointing.”
New York Times: “In another surprising decision, the Bears grabbed Howie’s son — Oregon offensive tackle Kyle Long. Long was projected to be drafted in the back of the first round or the start of the second. He’s a high-risk, high-reward player who, like so many of these first-round offensive linemen, possesses guard/tackle versatility.
Sports Illustrated: “In terms of a need-based pick, Long is a much better selection than linebacker Manti Te’o. The Bears have struggled for years with one of the worst offensive lines in football. It’s surprising that the Bears bypassed the linebacker position — a spot most believed they’d target. With all of the inside linebackers still on the board, the Bears obviously felt Long’s upside was too great to pass up.”
USA Today: “Jay Cutler’s protection issues … could be a thing of the past since Chicago has also signed LT Jermon Bushrod, G Matt Slauson and TE Martellus Bennett, who’s also an excellent blocker.”
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (which listed the Bears among the losers in the first round): “The Chicago Bears stretched with offensive tackle Kyle Long, the son of Howie Long, who comes with a lot of off-the-field baggage.”
Pete Prisco, CBSsports.com: “Long is a good player, but is he a guard or tackle? I think he slides inside to guard. He is a nasty player.”
National Football Post: “The Bears made a bad choice selecting Long in the first round because he is a long way from being a quality starting lineman. While he’s quick and explosive, Long is stiff in the hips and too often bends at the waist to try to make blocks. He is going to need to greatly improve his technique to ever justify being a first-round selection.”
Jason Passehl, CSNHouston.com: “Did I say E.J. Manuel was the biggest reach in the draft so far? Well, that still might be true. This becomes the instant contender for the title. The Bears desperately wanted one of the top offensive tackles to fall to them … at 20. After that didn’t happen, they went to their next guy on the board, but they should’ve traded down. Kyle Long would’ve been available much later in the first, and likely into the second.”