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Chris Long CAN play OLB in a 3-4

Here's an interesting quote that is buried in this entertaining article about one of the potential #1 picks, Chris Long:

"There's not a lot of 3-4 college defenses and the way Chris plays in coach [Al] Groh's defense, he's as NFL-ready as you can be from a 3-4 standpoint," said Kevin Colbert, Steelers director of football operations. "Could he stand up and be a linebacker? Absolutely."

Absolutely?  That's really great news, especially when you consider the source of the quote is a guy like Colbert.  After all, the Steelers know what it takes for a player to be successful at the outside linebacker position in a 3-4 defense.  However, we'll have to wait and see what Long runs in the 40 yard dash, scheduled for tomorrow for defensive lineman, to really know if Long has the speed necessary to play the OLB spot in a 3-4.

But if Long does have the speed, and the Dolphins feel he can be successful as an OLB in a 3-4 (if that is the defense they end up running), I think an interesting scenario could unfold.  For example, the Dolphins could trade Jason Taylor and replace him with Chris Long.  Long would then play the same DE/OLB hybrid position that Taylor would be playing if he remained.  

Of course, I'm just speculating.  But the reason I bring this up is because, if Taylor isn't traded, would Long be a waste at #1 overall if he has to play the DE position in a 3-4?  After all, 3-4 DEs don't usually have a visible impact on defense, but do play an important role in the success of the defense.  That's the question Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano will have to answer.  Though we also can't forget that there hasn't been any official announcement that the Dolphins plan to run a 3-4 defense.  Right now, most are just assuming they will.  But Sparano said that he plans to make the system fit the personnel, not the other way around.  And if the Dolphins aren't able to find a quality nose tackle, either in free agency or in the draft, then this team could very well play a 4-3 defense.  And if that is the case, then Chris Long would have to be a serious, serious candidate to go #1 overall.  Just imagine having Taylor on one side and Long on another.

Yup, exciting times ahead!