2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears take Oregon's Long with 20th pick

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-25 23:46

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Kyle Long followed his bloodlines to the NFL. He won't be lining up on the same side of the line as his famous family members, though.

The Chicago Bears selected Long with the 20th pick in the draft Thursday night, adding the guard from Oregon to a line that has ranked among the NFL's worst in recent years.

There were a number of ways the Bears could have gone, given their needs for depth and youth on both sides of the ball. They were also interested in moving down and acquiring more picks since they had just five.

Some mock drafts had the Bears going with linebackers Alec Ogletree of Georgia and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, along with Fighting Irish tight end Tyler Eifert. All three were on the board, but Chicago decided to draft a guard in the first round for the first time since 1960 in Long, the son of former Raiders star Howie Long and brother of St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long.

``Very clear statement that we wanted this player,'' general manager Phil Emery said. ``The draft's not over, so we'll have other opportunities at those other positions. This is the player we wanted.''

With Long in the mix along with newcomers Jermon Bushrod at left tackle and guard Matt Slauson, the offensive line will have a different look after allowing 44 sacks and 87 quarterback hits last season.

Kyle Long becomes the latest member of his family to reach the NFL even though his college football experience was limited.

A rifle-armed pitcher at St. Anne's-Belfield high school in Ivy, Va., he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 23rd round in 2008 but wound up going to Florida State on a baseball scholarship. Academic issues forced him to leave FSU, and he also wound up spending a night in jail because of a DUI in January 2009.

Long returned home, straightened himself out and enrolled at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif., in 2010 and wound up making the switch from pitcher to defensive end. He moved to the offensive line the following year with the Gauchos, and emerged as a key piece in Chip Kelley's breakneck offense in his lone season with Oregon in 2012 even though he made only five starts and 11 appearances.

In the five games he started at left guard, the 6-foot-6, 313-pound Long recorded six touchdown-resulting blocks and 36 knockdowns. And the Ducks led the Pac-12 in total offense and scoring.

``I feel like I can get a lot better with coaching, with the right guys around me,'' Long said. ``I feel like have that opportunity in Chicago.''

As for his past?

``I was a young kid and I was dealing with some stuff off the field that I had to work through,'' he said. ``I'm past it now. I'm four years, 4 1/2 years removed from those issues. I really feel like my best ball is ahead of me.''

Emery said he thinks Long can play both guard and tackle spots. He believes the issues he had in the past are just that - in the past - and sees him emerging as a leader.

``All of us have fallen in life at one point or another,'' Emery said. ``The important thing is do we get up and do we move forward? Do we try to prepare ourselves better. Not only get ourselves better, but get those around us better, and that's what this man has done. He was a team leader at Oregon. He was there one fall.''

Emery also said he might be the best athlete in the family, although Kyle Long dismissed that.

Now, Long joins a team that won 10 games but made some big changes after missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. They fired coach Lovie Smith and replaced him with the offensive-minded Marc Trestman, and that wasn't the only big change.

Brian Urlacher, the heart and soul of the defense, is gone after his contract expired and they couldn't come to an agreement. Besides parting with the eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, the Bears addressed some of their most immediate needs before the draft by signing Bushrod and Martellus Bennett. That gave them the top-tier left tackle and play-making tight end they craved, and it gave Emery some flexibility in the draft.

They lured Bushrod from New Orleans with a five-year deal, adding a Pro Bowl left tackle to a beleaguered offensive line and finally giving Jay Cutler the protection he needs on his blind side. They added a playmaker at tight end in Bennett and signed Slauson, the former New York Jets guard.

They'll have two new starting linebackers alongside perennial Pro Bowl pick Lance Briggs with D.J. Williams replacing Urlacher in the middle and James Anderson taking over for the departed Nick Roach on the strong side.

All that comes after they collapsed for the second straight year following a promising start. But for all their moves, there were still some major question marks hovering over the team as the draft approached - among them the offensive line, age on defense, the fact that many of the newcomers are on one-year deals and the uncertainty surrounding Cutler's future.

He's entering the final year of his contract, meaning the Bears could have a tough decision to make, particularly if he has a run-of-the-mill season. Complicating matters is the Bears have no heir apparent in place.

They might also want to bring in a receiver who can stretch the field and take some of the pressure off Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

But they again addressed a big issue in the first round, even if picking Long was a bit of a surprise.

``What matters is our team, how we see him fitting for us and do we have the type of dynamic athlete and leader that we need that can help us win championships,'' Emery said. ``And that's this guy.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group