By Anna Glenn Grove
David Long Jr. built a name for himself at West Virginia University as one of the toughest players on the team. So much so that his defensive coordinator there, Tony Gibson, said he had his money on Long that if he were in a locker room with 20 other teammates, Long would be the one to come out.
Long looks to bring this strength to this Tennessee team as a sixth-round draft pick who went to the Titans 188th overall. Following the draft Long tweeted out:
As the son of a professional heavyweight boxer, Long was bound to be tough as nails. His father, also David Long, once competed in the ring against Deontay Wilder and finished his career with a 12-5-2 record. Years following, this father and son duo actually had the chance to fight in three 90 second rounds against each other where his dad busted up his lip.
“It was fun,” Long said. “He’s old now so I didn’t think he still had it, but he showed me he did.”
Long said his strength not only comes from his father, but also his mom. He said the way they raised him is instilled in him and is shown a lot in his personality.
Long made the choice to forego his senior year as a Mountaineer and turn pro early. In his final season at West Virginia, Long finished with 111 tackles, 79 of which were solo tackles, 7 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Enough to earn him a draft pick.
In his combine performance, it was obvious that basketball was part of his athletic background. Long clocked in with a 4.74 40-yard dash and did 18 reps of 225 pounds. He said that basketball has helped him a lot in his mobility and ability to change coverage quickly.
As Long has been told his entire football career, many mention his size again as he enters the NFL. He lacks the size of a prototypical pro linebacker and the bulk strength. This being said, Long is a playmaker on defense and is built low to the ground so blockers have a hard time getting a good shot at him.
Long’s leverage skills will do him well and he knows how to work around big guys on the field. He is terrific in busting into the backfield and making a play behind the line of scrimmage. He could be an immediate asset in the special teams department due to his sheer toughness.
Typically, Long is seen described as a “heat-seeking missile” and we will see if he can live up to that name in Nashville.