Rapid Reaction: First-round pick Kyle Long

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Here's a look at the Chicago Bears' first-round selection (20th overall), Oregon guard Kyle Long.

Long played in 11 games last season for the Ducks, with four starts, in his lone year of FBS football.

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His reaction: "I'm very excited and grateful to be a Chicago Bear," Long said. "I didn't expect to go this high in the draft, and I'm just very excited to join an organization with such a great history and such a great fan base. Not enough can be said about the Chicago Bears organization."

Strengths: Long comes from an excellent football family. His father is Hall of Famer Howie Long and his brother is St. Louis Rams DE Chris Long. Good size. Played for a national championship contender for one season. Tested well at the NFL combine. Long obviously made a solid impression on the Bears during his pre-draft visit. GM Phil Emery said Long's versatility is appealing: "That's part of the reason why we're excited about having him here, is his versatility. He's going to start out at guard. We feel like he can be a starting right tackle. We feel like he can be a good left tackle in this league. So that's part of what attracted us to him."

Weaknesses: Long played only one year at Oregon after beginning his collegiate career as a baseball player at Florida State; then he played football for two seasons at a community college before enrolling at Oregon. Long was drafted by the White Sox in the 23rd round of the 2008 amateur draft. So he doesn't have much football experience. Long had an ankle injury as a senior and also had an off-the-field incident. Scouts downgrade him for his arm length, but that shouldn't be much of a concern on the interior of the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeKyle Long
John Green/CSM/ AP ImagesKyle Long lacks experience but has top-shelf physical tools.
By the numbers: Long stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 313 pounds. Ran a 4.94 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. Had the lowest body-fat percentage of any offensive lineman at the combine (15.8). "His Senior Bowl was excellent," Emery said. "I thought he was the best offensive lineman on the field at the Senior Bowl."

What it means: Emery said Long will initially line up at left guard and is expected to contribute immediately. Emery noted that Long could also be a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive tackle. The Bears consider Long a "rare" athlete who can step into a leadership role. He will be expected to push James Brown and Matt Slauson for a starting job. The club needed help on the offensive line despite the offseason additions of Slauson and left tackle Jermon Bushrod. With Syracuse OL Justin Pugh coming off the board at No. 19, the Bears clearly felt they needed to address the line, even though Long was the eighth lineman taken in the first 20 picks.

"I wasn't surprised that I ended up getting picked by the Bears," Long said. "I thought I had a great visit with [Bears offensive line coach Aaron] Kromer. I really enjoyed my time in Chicago. I had a great opportunity to sit down and get to know the people in the building. When I walked into O'Hare and was getting ready to fly back home, I had a great feeling about Chicago. Coach Kromer is a great coach, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity of trying to earn the respect of my teammates and hopefully be able to help the Chicago Bears."

More reaction: Next: The Bears are scheduled to pick No. 50 overall in the second round on Friday. Unless they trade the pick, which is possible, the team should still have an opportunity to grab a linebacker, or possibly a cornerback. Prior to the draft, the Bears worked out a significant number of linebackers and cornerbacks who most experts labeled as second- to mid-round picks.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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