Travis Long and the NFL: Green Bay Packers

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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.

Green Bay Packers

Nov 4, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton (19) avoids Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) during the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Stacked Against the Pick:

The Packers need starting help at linebacker, offensive line and running back, and would like to add depth on the defensive line and at wide receiver.  They have a lot of holes to fill and though linebacker is a priority, they may be looking for a more “proven” commodity than Travis Long.

Depending on the priority they place on linebacker, drafting 26th overall, the chance for a player like Travis, an unknown quantity, high motor guy, to be picked up later in the draft could be slim.

Perfect Storm:

Much like Marquess Wilson’s chances with Green Bay, Travis Long has opportunities with the Packers. They would like to add talent at numerous positions and generally will draft for talent over immediate need. This gives players like Wilson and Long value later in the draft to a team like this.

Green Bay’s 3-4 defense allows a player like Clay Mathews to thrive at the outside linebacker position. Unfortunately for the “Pack”, Mathews was the only player able to take advantage of the scheme. He had 13.5 sacks in 2012, the second leader pass rusher had only 4.5. To say they need more help rushing the quarterback would be… obvious.

When healthy, Travis could provide the extra rush Green Bay has been missing opposite Mathews.  Though Long only played one year in this scheme at Wazzu, his production in 2012 proves he can play well there and would be an asset to a team like the Packers.

Likelihood of Getting Drafted by Green Bay:

C+ (1st through 4th rounds) Depending on what Green Bay does early, Long could get a long look in the 4th round.

A- (5th through 7th round) If the Packers haven’t made a move at linebacker before these rounds and if Long is still on the board there is a match here.