Ok, as I've done before, time for a quick random thought that I need a little help sorting out. There's been plenty of order and structure herel lately.
I need some non pre-draft lingo and instead some opinions about Chris Long from personal, first-hand viewing experience. Frankly, I'm tired of words and terms like 'explosive', 'upside', 'lateral quickness', etc. Those terms can be useful when evaluating fringe prospects. But when it comes to guys that are guaranteed to go within the first 5-10 picks, and more likely #1, as is the case with Chris Long, I want to hear some stories of how he flat-out dominated his competition at the collegiate level.
I have not seen the kid play. I don't live in ACC country and last time I checked, the Cavaliers weren't showcased in too many national telecasts. I have no idea what to think/expect from him, yet I keep hearing that he's probably going to be who Parcells goes with at #1.
So, have any of you seen Chris Long play, and if you have, can you give me concrete examples of what you were impressed by. I'm talking about specifics about opponents, how Long was able to really effect the outcome of that football game etc. If you're going #1, you better not be judged too heavily on your measurables and on your 'hard-to-quantify-exactly-how-that-translates-to-wins' physical attributes. Everybody's physically gifted at the NFL level. What makes this guy stand out?
One thing to consider. Is it possible Chris Long had the best instruction, conditioning programs, etc growing up, giving him a slight edge between the ages of 15-20? Might those advantages disappear at the next level where taking a play off is unacceptable, and where strength and conditioning programs, even the worst ones, absolutely dust even the most sophisticated and comprehesnive programs in college? I know he plays hard, perhaps harder than anyone on the field, and that's taken him a long way. I've been able to surmise that concretely despite not watching more than highlights. But so did Mark Madsen in college hoops at Stanford, and while I'm more than ready to give him props for staying in the League this long, it's undeniable that any physical advantage he enjoyed in college from his grit, was quickly delineated as irrelevant at the professional level. I shouldn't sound even the slightest bit assertive here, but from the outside looking in, I would say that a fantastic career trajectory for him would be one similar to Aaron Smith's of the Steelers, with perhaps some more imperssive sack totals, being that he'll probably be highlighted in more blitz packages than Smith is.
Simply put, does this guy have that much room to grow and improve that he's worthy of a #1 overall selection? Is he that much better than Balmer, Harvey, Groves? Asked another way: would you be willing to wager a huge chunk of your money on his career being better than Vernon Gholston's? Perhaps, but I'd say you're a gambling man, because I put the odds at no better than 50%.
Help me out. You need not have seen him play to rebuke some of the thoughts I've been considering. I'm uneducated about this prospect.