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Chris Long impresses at Combine

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The more of of Chris Long, the more I seem to come away impressed by him.  

First of all, you need to consider his impressive interview with the media, which can be viewed here.  Below are some highlights from the Q & A session:

Q: Has Al Groh told you about Coach Parcells? Would that be an easy transition?

A: I've heard a lot about Coach Parcells and Coach Belichick as well. I think Coach Groh is a guy with a tremendous amount of respect for that coaching tree. A lot of his coaching styles and the schemes derive directly from Parcells and that tree. It will be a tough transition whatever I do and wherever I go. I think he does have a lot of similarities.

Q: Are you impressed with Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland?

A: I'm impressed with everybody I meet here. This is the NFL. It's certainly a great experience. Everybody I meet is so professional. Obviously that's what they do for a living. They eat, sleep, breath football.

Q: How is it practicing against D'Brickashaw Ferguson?

A: I would not be here if it weren't for D'Brickashaw and guys like Branden Albert who's here now and Eugene Morrell who will be here next year. It's humbling when you get beat every day in practice. The games are easier than practice by far. I was always very fortunate and appreciative not only of the type of player Brick was, but also for how he approached practice which forced me to raise my game and my level of intensity, so I'm ready for the game.

Q: What would you like to learn from Jason Taylor and Joey Porter?

A: These are all guys I grew up watching. Any team, you name it. It would be an honor to be on the same field and in the same locker room learning from these guys. If you approach the game correctly and try to be a student of the game, what better people to learn from than these all-pro guys and guys you grew up watching? It's really surreal actually.

Then you need to consider his stats in terms of his performance at the Combine today.  Note that the only thing he didn't do was the bench press.  He bypassed it because he suffered a sprained thumb in his bowl game and wasn't able to prepare as he would have liked.  But he will bench at his pro-day workout.  Below are his stats from today with his rank among defensive lineman in parenthesis:

40 yard dash: 4.75 (7th)
Vertical jump: 34" (3rd)
Broad jump: 10'4" (2nd)
3 cone drill: 7.02 (4th)
20 yard shuttle: 4.21 (1st)

Impressive performance.  The two jump figures are good measurements of his explosiveness.  The 3 cone drill is a good measure of agility.  The 20 yard shuttle is a good measure of both explosiveness and his acceleration in terms of how quick his first few steps are.

But what isn't shown in those figures is how well he performed in the non-timed events.  Long really impressed me with how fluid his hips looked and how quick he could back peddle to drop into coverage.  It's becoming quite clear that he does have the ability to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, just as the Steelers director of player personnel said yesterday.

If you want to see some of Chris Long's workouts, click here to head to his video on NFL.com.  And thanks to the user Matt for posting this video in a diary.

Thoughts?