Photo of Jake Long
Grade
?
  • 37 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 27.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.44 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 6'7" Height
  • 315LBS. Weight

Overview

One of the most decorated offensive linemen in the storied history of the Michigan program, the two-time team captain became the first Wolverine and only the fourth player ever to garner Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honors in consecutive seasons.

By doing so, Long joined Ohio State's Orlando Pace (1995-96) and Korey Stringer (1993-94) and Michigan State's Tony Mandarich (1987-88).

The senior offensive tackle gave Michigan three Offensive Lineman of the Year awards in the last four seasons, as David Baas was honored in 2004. Other Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honorees from Michigan include guard Steve Hutchinson (2000) and tackles Jon Jansen (1998) and Greg Skrepenak (1991).

Even though their hopes for a national title were dashed in an upset loss to Division 1-AA Appalachian State in their season opener, the Wolverines were grateful that their offensive leader returned to the playing field for the 2007 season. After his junior campaign, Long was seriously considering filing early for the NFL Draft. Being very close to tailback Mike Hart, both juniors made the decision to return for their final campaign.

"It was best for me and for the team to stay another year," Long said. "I looked into it a little bit, but I never was close to leaving. I really want my degree, and we have unfinished business as a team." Apparently, Hart was prepared to follow Long into the NFL a year early, too. "When we were making our decision last year, he came up to me and said if I'm leaving, then he's going to leave,'' Long said at the Big Ten Conference 2007 preseason convention.

"If I stay, then he's going to stay.'' As he spoke, Long glanced at the table in the Hyatt Regency Hotel meeting room where Hart was surrounded by reporters. "You can't lose your right tackle (and) lose your left tackle and come back and have the same season you had the year before,'' Hart noted.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr admitted he had his doubts at a certain stage in the decision-making process.

"Jake Long, I thought at one point was going to leave. I always meet with the seniors the Monday after Ohio State to talk about what their plans are, because it impacts recruiting. Jake Long, on that day, he was undecided (whether to turn pro),'' Carr recalled. "But when he came back, the first reason, he said, 'I'm just not ready to leave college and my teammates.' That speaks to who he is. How many guys would turn that down? ... Mike Hart, he never hesitated. Henne talked about graduating and a championship. You want guys like that.''

Long decided to protect himself financially in case he got hurt before the league's 2008 draft arrives. After getting guidance from recruiting coordinator Chris Singletary - who previously worked with the sports agent firm IMG - Long purchased an insurance policy. "(I did it) just so I can go out there and not worry about getting injured,'' he said. "I just go out there and focus on football and not worry about the repercussions of getting hurt.''

At Lapeer East High School, Long was a three-year starter on the offensive line. He was ranked the 17th-best player on the Detroit Free Press Best of the Midwest team and rated the 22nd-best offensive lineman in the nation by Collegefootballnews.com. Prep Football Report rated Long the 12th-best offensive tackle in the country and he was ranked as the 21st-best offensive tackle by Rivals100.com, who gave him a four-star prospect grade.

Max Emfinger's Recruiting Service rated Long the nation's fifth-best offensive tackle, as he earned All-American and All-Midwest honors from Super Prep. He was ranked as the second-best player in Michigan on the Detroit News Blue Chip list and named to Prep Star's All-Midwest Region squad. He was also selected to the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal Dream Team squads, as he became the first player in school history to earn All-State first-team honors.

An all-conference first-team offensive and defensive tackle as a junior and senior, he also earned All-State honorable mention as a junior. On offense, he did not allow any quarterback sacks in three seasons as a starter, grading over 90% for blocking consistency throughout his career. As a defensive tackle, he recorded 213 tackles with eleven sacks, 38 stops for losses and nine forced fumbles.

Long posted 91 tackles with four sacks as a senior and delivered 72 tackles and four sacks during his junior season. He rushed for three touchdowns as a fullback during his junior campaign and added another touchdown as a senior. He also lettered in baseball as a first baseman, setting the school home run and RBI records as a junior. He was also the starting center on basketball team, as he broke the school record for shooting percentage during his junior year (62.3 percent).

Long enrolled at Michigan with much fanfare in 2003, but was forced to spend the season on the scout team. He appeared in 12 games for the Wolverines in 2004. Even though he began his collegiate career as a reserve left tackle, he went on to start the final ten games at right tackle. He earned All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors from the league's coaches as a redshirt freshman. He also picked up Scripps/Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Rivals.com Freshman All-American recognition.

As a sophomore, Long saw his 2005 season delayed by spring shoulder surgery. He missed the team's first seven games before returning in a reserve role at right tackle vs. Iowa. He would then move into the starting lineup for the Wolverines' final four contests, but was also hampered by foot and ankle injuries.

Fully recovered from shoulder problems, Long went on to establish himself among the nation's elite left offensive tackles in 2006. The team co-captain earned American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Football Writers Association of America, Rivals.com and Sports Illustrated All-American first-team honors.

Named All-Big Ten and the league's Offensive Lineman of the Year, Long also picked up Hugh R. Rader Jr. Memorial Award honors (Michigan's top offensive lineman) and was a David Brandon Leadership Award co-recipient with LaMarr Woodley. The Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate graded 87.0% for blocking consistency, as he allowed just two quarterback sacks and posted 128 knockdowns with 15 touchdown-resulting blocks for an offense that averaged 370.8 yards per game.

Honors continued to pour in for Long throughout the 2007 season, as he again earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team and league Offensive Player of the Year accolades. He finished second in the voting for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award, as he picked up consensus All-American first-team recognition.

Long paced an offense that averaged 373.5 yards per game, despite key injuries that sidelined quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart for a good portion of the first half of the campaign. He would register 119 knockdowns with 18 touchdown-resulting blocks, leading Big Ten blockers with an 87.85% grade for blocking consistency. He would close out his career with 40 starting assignments, including a string of 30 consecutive starts.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a thick frame with good upper-body muscle tone, long arms, wide hips, thick thighs and calves...Also has room on his frame to add at least another 20 pounds of bulk without having the added weight impact his overall quickness...Shows good quickness and body control for a player of his size...Take-charge type and field leader who plays with good field awareness and is an aggressive blocker who has the knowledge to call blocking adjustments up front...Sound technically and can be a drive blocker who shows good explosion in his initial step off the snap...Keeps his balance working into the second level and has a wide leg base in his pass set...Good second-effort blocker who stays with his man throughout the whistle, but also shows the vision to locate secondary targets...Plays with a mean streak, looking to constantly finish his man off...Never takes a play off and drives through the defender with good intent and force...Easily digests a complicated playbook and makes good field adjustments to twists and games...Rarely makes a mental error and is very alert on the field...Vocal team captain who will not hesitate to take a teammate to task...Has a true passion for the game, playing with a warrior-like mentality...Hard worker who will do anything the coaches ask and is a model for good work ethic, especially in the weight room...Uses his long reach and size to neutralize edge rushers (see 2007 Michigan State, Illinois and Florida games), doing a solid job of reaching and sealing the "seven" technique...Has the ability to get under the defender's pads and dominate with his hand jolt, but does lack ideal explosion...His hand punch will consistently shock and jolt the defender...Adequate in attempts to stay on his feet moving down the line and is effective at handling the switch-off...Will jolt the defenders on contact with his hands, locking on to steer out and work his man off the line...Drive blocks with excellent leverage and is consistent at moving the pile (see 2007 Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Purdue and Florida games)...When he stays square in his base, he shows the footwork to get in front on traps and pulls...Very good with his reach-and-scoop skills, when he sinks his weight and stays low in his pads (better at gaining advantage and sealing off when getting movement on double teams)...Can locate and land in short space but isn't as effective on the long pull...Lacks timed speed, but is efficient at locating linebackers when asked to work into the second level...Very quick to set and recoil with his hands, showing good knee bend setting up in pass protection...Has no problems handling movement and is quick to react to stunts and blitzes...Does a good job of staying on his feet working in-line, where he can wall off and position with ease...Gets good movement in his drive blocks and, while he is a little tight in his hips, he works hard to take good angles and recover in his pass set...Can run his feet, stay up and sustain his blocks, showing aggression throughout his play...Works to finish and is patient on the pull, breaking down and staying under control at the second level...Can sink his hips and redirect, coming off the double team with good balance and anchor...Uses his hands like weapons in attempts to pick up stunts and can also catch the defender with his big mitts...Sees threats quickly and stays square in his base to absorb the edge rusher. Negatives: A little tight in his hips, lacking ideal lateral agility in his kick-slide and can struggle when having to immediately change direction (will take false steps)...Has a strong hand punch, but tends to get them outside his frame, causing him to whiff a lot on a quick pass set (inconsistent placement)...Best operating in a short area, as he does show some balance issues when asked to run long distances...Needs to show better explosion off the snap when engaging defenders, but does compensate with a strong hand punch...When he gets too high in his stance, his base narrows and he will revert to over-extending in attempts to position and sustain...Must unlock his hips and explode more often into the defender, as he prefers to use his size to engulf or hands to sustain rather than blow up the defender (better earlier in games)...More effective working on an island with an edge rusher, as his lack of ideal hip swerve will see him allow inside penetration. Compares To: JAMAAL BROWN-New Orleans...Like Brown, Long is a mauler with excellent drive-blocking skills. He compensates for a lack of explosion by taking good angles to adjust to movement and has the big hands and upper-body strength to consistently walk his man off the line. He shows the kick-step to mirror edge rushers, but does allow some inside penetration with his sluggish hip swerve working in-line. In a game plan that features physical drive blocking, Long is a perfect fit. But, if you put him in a zone-blocking formation, he lacks the lateral agility needed to mirror inside movement.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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