Travis Long and the NFL: Washington Redskins

Tackles For Loss
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Misc. Defense
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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.


Dec 23, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Redskins helmets along the sidelines prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins defeated the Eagles 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Stacked Against the Pick:

The Redskins have an aging roster top to bottom (not including the QB and RB positions), don’t possess any picks in the first round and need more playmakers for RGIII to work with. As we saw towards the end of last season, when the sensational quarterback has to do it himself, he’s vulnerable to major injury in this league.

Santana Moss is somewhat of a beast for his small, aging body, but outside of Alfred Morris they don’t possess any real weapons you could call a “game changer” on offense. Also, the offensive line lacks protectors and/or true road grating ability. Even though Morris led the league in yards gained, it was mostly because RGIII is such a threat that teams just flat respected him more in the read option game. I imagine a lot of focus is going to go into considerations on that side of the ball in this draft.

The Perfect Storm:

There are other pressing needs here as well though. Straight up, the “Skins” need productive backers and this really is one of those “perfect storm” situations for a guy like Long to thrive. They are getting really old all over their defense, but especially in the LB core.

There is a growing concern for back end athleticism and playmaking ability, so that could be something Washington seriously looks at early in the draft. However, if Long falls into the 5th, Washington should nab him without hesitation. He would bring a lot of versatility to their entire unit, which is something they desperately lack. Also he would bring with him a relentless mentality and ability to get to the play late in the backfield. In the NFC East there’s something to be said about that, as Romo extends plays, Manning holds the ball and whomever quarterbacks the Eagles will probably do some scrambling/read option work.

Likelihood of Getting Drafted by Washington:

B+ (4th)

A + (from the 5th on)