In the NFL draft last year the Bears were drafting in the 20th spot. There were many glaring needs that needed to be filled, most notably on the offensive line. The Bears have their franchise Quarterback, but were unable to keep him off the turf. Everyone knew that the priority of the new coaching staff was to revamp and upgrade the offensive line.
So with the 20th pick the Bears selected Kyle Long at Offensive Guard out of the University of Oregon. What? Who? The experts were stunned with the selection, saying things such as they waisted their pick to they reached on a guy who would have been available in later rounds. But GM Emery and Coach Trestman saw something in the rookie. After all Long did come from a football family, with his father being Hall-of-Fame member Howie Long, and his older brother Chris being a defensive lineman for the Saint Louis Rams. But to take a guy in the first round who had only started 10 games in college? Bears fans were baffled, and had fully expected Long to be a decent player after a few years, but only serviceable at best.
Well Emery and Trestman once again proved that they were the smartest guys in the room. Long not only took the Bears training camp by storm, and he earned the starting right guard job in training camp, he started all 16 games as a rookie, he was voted to the all-rookie team, and was voted to the Pro-Bowl. Pretty impressive for a guy that all the experts thought was a reach at the 20th pick.
Long brought a nastiness and toughness that the Bears line was in need of. Jay Cutler has said many times that he believe’s Long may be insane, and he would not want anyone else blocking for him. Just to show the type of attitude that Long brings, look at this video from last season when the Bears played the Rams, and the two Long brother’s got into a little brotherly love spat on the field.
There has not been a Bears rookie that the the fans have gravitated to, and has become such a fan favorite since William “the Refridgerator” Perry back in the 1985 season. If Long helps to bring a championship back to Chicago, he too, will enjoy eternal imortality like Perry in the Second City.