David Long Jr., LB
School: West Virginia | Conference: BIG 12
College Experience: RS Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 221 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Joel Iyiegbuniwe
David Long Jr. was 3-star recruit who only got a handful of offers. West Virginia was the easy choice due to the state of their football program compared to the others (no offense to Army, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois). Long was given a redshirt his freshman season but got significant playing time the next season with 10 starts. Long got inserted into the starting lineup full time his RS Sophomore year but only played in 9 games after recovering from an meniscus injury he suffered in the offseason. Long is an undersized linebacker but he has experience playing both outside and inside and he makes up for his size with his physicality, speed, quickness, and work ethic. Long attacks his gap assignments with speed and power. Normally you are going to see him around the ball on every run play. He also has experience dropping back into coverage and is decent there. Long had an excellent RS Junior season statistically and his former head coach Dana Holgorsen praised Long for being one of the leaders and toughest players on his team. Holgorsen was also relieved when Long was voted as the 2018 BIG 12 Defensive Player of the Year after what he considered several snubs to Long for weekly awards during the season. Long has a bright future and has the potential to play is several places on defense. He should be a good value for a team looking for a fringe starter who can grow into more.
- Active all over the field if you look for the ball you can usually find him. High effort player that isn’t afraid to take on blocks to get to the ball.
- Has good athleticism and should test well. Sideline to sideline ability is there. Attacks his gap assignment with power to clog up lanes forcing the offense to adjust. Takes good pursuit angles.
- Has experience outside and inside can blitz off the edge or provide interior pressure. Prolific tackler with good read and react ability. Knows how to use quickness and hands to get off blocks and get to the ball carrier.
- Has experience dropping back into coverage and has the range and ability to improve there.
- While he is a prolific tackler he needs to clean up his technique. I didn’t see him wrap up enough times and saw way too many misses when he dives at ankles or when he tries to know people down with a shoulder hit. He needs work on technique overall specifically hand usage and in coverage.
- Playing aggressive and going full steam ahead is great but sometimes he overshoots his target and takes himself out of the play. Needs to play more disciplined at times.
- Undersized at the position. He could stand to put on weight and get stronger.
Let’s see his work:
West Virginia LB David Long Jr. vs. Kansas State (09/22/18). #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/zb7VWVmuVR— PFDZ (@PFDZ44) December 29, 2018
David Long Jr. is going to haunt Tyler Huntley by the time this one is over #HailWV #HODBowl #HeartofDallasBowl #Big12FB pic.twitter.com/CNEegSHwvp— Heartland College Sports (@Heartland_CS) December 26, 2017
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
There are so many unanswered questions at the inside linebacker position for the Redskins. Questions remain as to if Zach Brown will be in their plans despite being under contract for the next two seasons. If the Redskins move on from Brown it could be because of some internal rift or just because the team is looking to save some cap space. Mason Foster is under contract for next season but he should be cut because he isn’t good and he doesn’t think that highly of the team or its fans. Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons are young options that could emerge if they are given a chance but are mainly ST players at this point. And of course the big question mark is if Reuben Foster will be suspended and for how long by the NFL after domestic violence charges were dismissed against him. A lot is up in the air, but I think adding another athletic player like Long could foster great competition for that second starting ILB position on the team. I think Long could beat out guys like JHC and Zack Vigil of course but could also compete with Shaun Dion Hamilton for that spot in the event Foster or Brown are unavailable. The addition of a player like Long could also offer some great insurance in case the team does eventually decide to move on from Brown or if Foster ever gets in trouble again. He has the athleticism to start on Sundays he just needs to improve his technique and he could be a great value. Long turns 21 in October.