It isn't often that a highly-touted recruit out of Los Angeles who earned first-team all-conference honors at Michigan can accurately claim to be nationally underrated, but that might be the case with Long.
He earned only third-team accolades from Big Ten media members but was voted to the top squad by league coaches in 2018 before the talented junior announced his plans to skip his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Perhaps that is because Long posted relatively ho-hum statistics in 2018 (17 overall tackles, one interception) as opponents wisely elected to target others.
Long signed with Michigan as a celebrated four-star recruit. He earned a letter as a true freshman by playing in four games before emerging as a starter as a true sophomore, registering slightly better numbers (20 tackles, two interceptions) through in 11 starts.
Good looking athlete on the hoof with the size and athleticism combination to handle man coverage duties against a variety of targets. Possesses a well-built frame with good overall muscular development, including the size and strength to match up against bigger receivers, as well as very good balance and lateral agility to handle smaller, quicker pass-catchers. Moved at times to shadow featured targets, including lining up opposite tight ends in the slot (Notre Dame).
Quickness is the key term with Long, accurately describing his reactions to the ball being thrown, his hands to make plays on it, as well as his feet. Shows good understanding of route development, knifing in front of receivers to maintain his position between them and the quarterback.
Long did not record many tackles over his career, and at times was too willing to let others do the dirty work. That said, Long doesn't lack for physicality when needed, showing an explosive closing burst, power and reliable wrap-up tackling skills that suggest he is plenty tough and may still have untapped potential in this area.
Projection: Fourth Round
--Field Level Media