TE HUNTER LONG
Weight: 254 lbs.
Class: Junior (red shirt)
School: Boston College
A former three-star recruit out of Exeter, New Hemisphere, where he attended Deerfield Academy. He was Second Team All-State as a senior in high school at tight end and defensive end. Was Third Team All-ACC in 2019 as a redshirt sophomore and was a Second Team All American last year before declaring early for the NFL Draft.
Long had 57 catches on 89 targets for 685 yards and five touchdowns in 2020; he finished his college career with 89 catches for 1,295 yards and nine total touchdowns on 133 targets. Since he was an All American in 2020, he was also a First-Team All-ACC selection. Long will look to be a top-three tight end selected in the upcoming draft, but maybe the fourth or fifth one off the board.
Great size and catch radius with good build-up speed; isn’t a dynamic athlete but knows how to uncover, find voids in zones, and create enough separation in the short to intermediate parts of the field. He does well to find the seam and bend away from coverage against the middle of the field closed types of defenses as well as the middle of the field open.
A good pass-catching tight end with quality ball skills and only has five drops on his resume--several of them were against North Carolina in 2020. He does a solid job releasing up the line of scrimmage and bending around the covering defender with active hands that could be used more efficiently in conjunction with his feet to beat good press defenders.
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He does a solid job running routes but isn’t overly fluid in and out of breaks which are somewhat rounded. He brings very soft hands to the table--hands that adjust and extend away from his large frame well.
He does a very good job making contested catches (outside of that NC game) through traffic, and he plays with a lot of concentration. A quality security blanket in the short to intermediate parts of the field for his quarterback.
He has enough speed, change of direction ability, and quickness to be trouble for some two down linebacker types in the NFL; he can also use his frame to box out smaller safeties and dictate the catch point with his solid play strength and long catch radius. He isn’t going to make many men miss in space with the football in his hand, but he brings good physicality to the tackle point.
He is a solid overall blocker with good foot quickness to mirror if needed in pass protection. He doesn’t overwhelm EDGE defenders with his play strength, but he has enough strength to hold up the point of attack as long as he keeps his center of gravity down.
He is more of a pass-catcher than a blocker, but he’s a willing blocker that is a bit more advanced than Evan Engram was in that area when he came out of Ole Miss in 2017.
Overall, Long is a top-five tight end in this draft who has quality receiving skills highlighted by his soft hands and solid ability to uncover in the short to intermediate parts of the field.
His build-up speed allows him to be effective up the seam as well. He’s a solid blocker who could still develop that area of his game a bit, not to allow defenders to separate so quickly on initial contact. Long should be a late day two selection in the draft.