2019 NFL Draft: Fourth Round, 111th Overall
The Detroit Lions select …
Pick Analysis: The Lions travel down the road to Ann Arbor for their third round selection, bolstering a reshaped cornerback rotation with the highly competitive Long. He decided to forgo his senior season at Michigan in order to enter the draft this year.
Lauded for his leadership with the Wolverines, Long was a first team All Big Ten selection last season. He is also a durable player, making all 13 starts in each of the last two seasons for Big Blue.
At this point in his development, the Los Angeles native doesn’t necessarily fit the profile of a playmaking defensive back that is preferred by the Lions; he recorded just three interceptions over the past two college campaigns. However, the veterans added to the roster this offseason in the defensive backfield could allow the Lions to ease Long in slowly, while providing him with occasional sub package or special teams snaps.
Long could also help light a fire under third year corner Teez Tabor, who hasn’t lived up to expectations yet after being a second round selection in 2017. Tabor will likely have to fight to maintain a spot on the Lions’ roster in 2019, and an energetic player like Long could ignite an intriguing competition in the cornerback room.
As the old NFL adage goes, “you can never have enough cornerbacks”. With that in mind, the Lions project to have at least six corners on the roster in 2019 and possibly even seven considering the morphing defense that head coach Matt Patricia uses. Long would be a good developmental player to fit that mold in the middle of the draft.