Virginia DE Long’s Stock Rising

Virginia defensive end Chris Long
Chris Long, a defensive end from the University of Virginia, is fast becoming a household name to those who follow the NFL draft; according to Adam Schefter of NFL Network, three well-connected NFL sources who are in Hawaii for the 2008 Pro Bowl are saying – independent of each other; in other words, 3 differing opinions here – that the evidence is growing to think that Long (son of Howie Long) will be the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Until very recently, there were several names tossed about as the number 1 pick – LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden; but as of late, the buzz has been all about Long, who has been and is considered to be a guaranteed Top-5 pick. The Miami Dolphins have that first overall pick, and the consensus seems to be (although that can change at any time and often does) that the team’s football operations head Bill Parcells thinks that there is less risk in selecting Long with their pick than any other pick.

The Dolphins opine that Long has the talent, the football genes and character that makes it easy to invest around $35 million in guaranteed money in him. Assuming that Long goes #1 as some football types predict that he will, it will be similar to other seasons as it seems like a trend that there’s one player who is tabbed as the top pick then another comes from out of nowhere to be the first player selected.

Some good examples – LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell climbed past Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in 2007; in 2006, it was North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams rising past USC running back Reggie Bush and Texas QB Vince Young; in 2005, it was Utah quarterback Alex Smith who bypassed California quarterback Aaron Rodgers. All of that aside, Long has the tools to be at the very least a Top-5 selection – he uses his hands well, gets tremendous leverage and has that “non-stop” motor. Those attributes could very well have Long being the first pick overall by the Dolphins. By the way, I have Long going to Miami, as well; for my draft prospect profiles and draft projections, click here.

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