Travis Long and the NFL: Chicago Bears

Tackles For Loss
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Pac-12 linebacker draftee comparisons

Travis Long is not as athletic as many of the other linebackers in the draft, but like all the other greats that were less athletic, he makes up for it with relentless effort and solid technique. His injury has clearly dropped him on the overall board, but he still shows a 3rd/4th round grade on many team boards. If he goes lower than that he’ll be an absolute steal, and honestly he may be an afterthought on the first and second days.

Other players at his position look more athletic on tape and are going to be a more “sexy” pick to a team who didn’t get to evaluate Long in person. He’s a player that really could have used a Combine appearance to secure a spot in the early to mid 3rd round if healthy, but such is life sometimes. Somebody will understand what he brings to the table once NFL camps roll around, at the very least. For now he’ll just be hoping that he doesn’t slip past the 4th.


Stacked Against the Pick:

Nov 11, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) makes a tackle on Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Long is a linebacker, Chicago is in need of a linebacker, perfect fit, done and done. Well not quite. Chicago may be in need of a linebacker if 12 year vet Brian Urlacher is released this off season.  And although Urlacher is a linebacker he is a middle linebacker, the heart and soul of the defense, and as much as I like Travis Long, he is not a middle linebacker.

Long figures to be an outside linebacker in the NFL and the Bears, though aging in this department are set at that position with Lance Briggs and the re-signing (assumed at this point) of Nick Roach.

Regardless of the teams eventual decision with Urlacher, they need to plan for the future, and using a pick on an outside linebacker in a year where the team only has 5 picks, would not be a wise move by Chicago.  It’s hard to see, in this scenario, Travis Long ending up with the Bears.

Perfect Storm:

Chicago has a couple of hard decisions to make prior to the draft in April. Should they or should they not re-sign linebackers Nick Roach and Brian Urlacher.  These decisions could impact a possible future for Travis Long in Chicago.

If the Bears choose to re-sign Urlacher and release Roach, they would have an immediate need for an outside linebacker.  Enter Travis Long, he would be an ideal pick for the Bears in the 4th round, considering their other needs, and would have a chance to compete in training camp for the strong side spot.

This of course becomes moot, if they re-sign both or if Chicago re-signs Roach and releases Urlacher. Roach if re-signed would be around for another 3 or 4 years, and this draft may be the ideal time to take a chance on Urlacher’s eventual replacement.

Likelihood of Getting Drafted by Chicago:

Roach gets released – B (4th)

Roach re-signs – F (Not enough picks in the draft to take depth late)