Just as he did when he came to Eugene in early 2012, Kyle Long is making a strong first impression with his new team. Long, the 20th overall pick in the draft by the Chicago Bears, got off to a less-than-optimal start when he was forced to miss rookie OTAs due to Oregon’s finals schedule (it’s an NFL rule), but his physicality and world-class athleticism have more than compensated during training camp.
Thursday night Long started at right guard against the San Diego Chargers and performed very well for an otherwise unimpressive and inconsistent Bears line. After an atrocious performance in 2012 – their line gave up 44 sacks – it’s looking like the Bears will be starting two rookie offensive linemen in 2013 (5th-round pick Jordan Mills started vs. the Chargers beside Long, at right tackle).
The Bears invested a high draft pick in Long because they believe his athleticism and physicality will allow him to dominate opponents, possibly becoming one of the best run-blocking interior linemen in the league. At 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, Long has that potential. Additionally, it seems that over the past few years he’s established the work ethic and habits necessary to capitalize on the opportunities before him.
Good work, Kyle, Ducks fans are rooting for ya!