Former Miami Dolphins number one overall draft pick Jake Long will sign with the Atlanta Falcons Tuesday, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter. Long, selected out of Michigan in 2008, spent five seasons with the Dolphins as the starting left tackle, before signing as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 2023, playing two years there. He was released at the start of free agency this year.
Long is a four-time Pro-Bowl, being named an all-star in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. He was also a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2010. Injuries, however, caught up to Long, who has not played in all 16 games of a season since 2010. He has battled through multiple ACL tears, shoulder problems, a back injury, and a torn biceps muscle.
Long's latest ACL tear came last year, ending his second season with the Rams after seven games. He has been medically cleared to return to football, but his role with the Falcons is not clear. He could be considered for a starting spot, likely at right tackle, or he could be a swing tackle, depth option. Atlanta's offensive line looked decent on Monday night, but the addition of Long, in whatever role he plays, could boost that group's performance.
Hopefully, Long will be able to stay healthy and demonstrate the talent that made Miami choose him as the top pick in 2008. He clearly was one of, if not the, top left tackles in the league at the start of his career, but everythign fell apart once in the injuries started. It is a shame to see Long's career fall into this cycle of injury after injury, knowing what he could have been.
On a side note, this now means Long is a teammate with the player many felt Miami should have taken with the top pick that year, quarterback Matt Ryan.