I actually think ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr know what their talking about most of the time, but occasionally I wonder whose feeding them information. Both ESPN draft experts continue to say they’re hearing that the Oakland Raiders do not think Chris Long will fit their system, and that they probably won’t take him if he’s available when they make their 1st selection. I’ll get into Long even further in the next couple days, but in the mean time, here’s some of what I wrote at the end of last season (December 30th).
“My pick [in the upcoming draft], Howie’s boy Chris Long. How can this kid play for any other team? I think Long would make a huge impact on the Raiders fan base, and on the field, but there’s reason to believe he might not be around when the Raiders make their first selection.”
I’ve made it known for months that I think C. Long is a 4-3 defensive end, but Kiper, McShay, and the guy on the NFL Network with the lisp have evaluated him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Now with 2 days left until the draft Long looks to be targeted mainly by teams that run a 4-3 (Raiders, Rams, Chiefs). Here’s what head coach Lane Kiffin said today on Chris:
“I think you see a phenomenal effort player, first of all – nonstop, relentless, a guy who’s played a number of spots,” Kiffin said. “He’s actually played in a 3-technique, he’s played in a 3-4 where he’s head-up and he’s bumped outside, and he’s stood up as a backer inside. So there’s no scenario you need to look at that you don’t have on film, of what he can do, and what he brings to the table. He’s so strong at the point of attack, and would be a guy that I think would help us tremendously in the run game.”
Some mock drafts have Vernon Gholston going to the Raiders, but Kiffin’s comments today tell me the Raiders might not be as interested as what’s been reported.
“He definitely can play in a 4-3 system. He’s perfect for a 3-4 system outside, probably, but he can definitely play in a 4-3,” Kiffin said
Media members, scouts, coaches, agents, and top prospects are beginning to flood into New York for this weekend’s draft. As I gather more information like this I’ll post it. Saturday morning I’ll post my final Mock Draft based on all the most up-to-date transactions and rumors.