While the confusion of the Trent Murphy pick was subdued easily by the pick of Morgan Moses, the confusion returned fast when the Redskins selected a guard in Spencer Long over the name values of David Yankey and Cyril Richardson. At first, I’ll admit I was puzzled by the pick and had Long going later, but that was mainly due to his season injury. As I went back and started to re-watch Spencer Long before the injury I saw a guy who was a lot better than I had given credit for at first. Long may not be the sexy name, but when you see his film and then see what others had been saying about him for a while, you see a better pick than what was shown at first. Below I’ll take a look at what to expect from Long in year one for the Redskins.
Spencer Long is what you want in a guard prospect. He’s a nasty, tough, gritty player who plays until the whistle blows and will make his defender pay if they attempt to let up at all. Long isn’t the best pass protector yet, and certainly does need help with his technique but what you can’t teach is his tenacity and ability to open up lanes and allow guys to get space. When I watch Long, I see someone who may not start year one, but will challenge for playing time at the end of year one and will cement himself as the starter in year two. The only reason why I mention him not starting early on is the technique errors. It also wouldn’t surprise me one bit if you saw Long with his athleticism and fire earn the starting job and be the first starter of the 2013 draft class.
Long though will earn his keep early on with his intensity, but will be a long-term fixture because of his mix of fire and athleticism. When I turned on film for Long, I was impressed by his ability to not only make the blocks, but also get to the 2nd level and find another defender and use his athleticism to his advantage. Long does a great job of leveraging his strengths to beating his defenders. It’s partially why I almost see Spencer Long as a bit of a hybrid fit as he’s able to play in a zone scheme with his athleticism, but also in a power scheme with his strength. As mentioned earlier, Long will need to work on his pass protection as he’s beaten easily on the inside moves because of main technique flaws, but the raw athleticism there can help offset it at times. When moving to the NFL it’ll be harder to get by with athleticism as all players he’ll face are going to be as athletic as he is. If Long can work on his technique under coach Chris Foerster, then he can become a very good guard in the NFL with his natural ability.
Spencer Long isn’t the sexy name everyone expected to hear, but when you compare what is on film before injury and after, it’s easy to see why teams like Washington fell in love with him because of his ability to dominate the field at points. He’s not a finished product, but you could argue that almost every pick after Trent Murphy isn’t a finished product in the least bit. Spencer Long is a high upside player, and it’ll come down to very good development to get the best possible player out of him. Chris Foerster is a very good OL coach that’s never gotten the credit he deserves, and I hope that he can get the best out of Long as he’s started to show with guys like Trent Williams.