Travis Long and the NFL: Minnesota Vikings

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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.

Sep 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison (96) reacts after recovering a fumble during the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars 26-23 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings

Stacked Against the Pick:

The problem with Travis Long being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings is that the Vikings already have a Travis Long. The Vikings Brian Robison is what Travis Long should aim to be in the NFL.

At 6’4 245 Long is similar in build to Robison, 6’3 259. Both are high motor pass rushers and on paper look undersized for defensive end in the NFL. Robison bided his time as a backup rush end for the Vikings through his first 4 seasons, finally breaking the starting lineup in 2011. Besides already having a Travis Long on the roster, the Vikings currently play a 4-3 defense, not ideal for Long in the NFL.

The Perfect Storm:

The flip side of the Vikings already having a Travis Long type player is that they know what a player like Long can do. The Vikings could look to add depth behind Robison later in the draft by selecting someone just like him. Though most have projected Long as an outside linebacker, given the opportunity to bulk up and learn from a player like Robison who has been there, and potential future Hall of Famer Jared Allen the Vikings could be a great place to land for Travis Long

Likelihood of Getting Drafted by Minnesota:

The Vikings have talent at defensive end, an up and coming backup forcing playing time in Everson Griffen, and a base 4-3 defense.  Long’s chances in Minnesota appear…well, long.

D+ (1st through 4th rounds) The Vikings don’t have an immediate need at defensive end and hybrid player like Long doesn’t make sense.

C (4th through 7th rounds) Minnesota will have enough picks to gamble late in the draft, picking up value for depth may help Travis Long.