Chiefs Draft: Late round wonders

CB LeShaun Sims. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock- USA TODAY Sports
CB LeShaun Sims. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock- USA TODAY Sports /
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1 Feature From The Bleachers
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It’s true, it’s entirely too early to be calling any late round prospects a “wonder” but after spending some time researching these fellas, I couldn’t resist.

Sometimes, a player with potential, like 7th rounder defensive end Mike Catapano, who now plays for the N.Y. Jets, sticks in the recent memory and gives rise to dreams of what could have been, and in the case of this year’s crop of late round wonders, what could be.

There are times when the offseason seems more exciting than the regular season. One of the reasons the offseason can be so compelling is… the opportunity to witness the draft season evolution of guys like last year’s inside line-backing prospect Stephone Anthony. In January of 2015 Anthony was ranked by most major services as a 6th or 7th round talent, but when all was said and done he was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 31st pick overall.

That kind of disparity… intrigue… raised awareness… and eventual correction tells a story as fascinating as anything you’ll find on Family Guy.

The first late round wonder I’d like to mention is an inside linebacker, Steve Longa out of Rutgers.

Steve Longa. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer- USA TODAY Sports
Steve Longa. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer- USA TODAY Sports /

ILB Steve Longa, 6-1, 223, Rutgers

When you’ve averaged 114 tackles in each of three seasons, you should get noticed. That’s exactly what Steve Longa has done. However, I’m not sure he’s gotten the kind of attention he’s wanting. CBS Sports has ranked Longa as the 295th prospect overall which of course projects him as an Undrafted Free Agent. DraftTek ranks him at #248 overall which is about where the Chiefs select in the 7th round (#249).

Perhaps the variant here is the combine clock. If you got to watch any of the combine at all you would be aware that the clock used to time the prospects 40 yard dashes wasn’t consistently right. reports that,

"“Longa ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash, which ranked 20th out of the 38 linebackers at the Combine. While the official time is recorded by laser, NFL teams rely on their handheld times. One team clocked Longa at 4.68 seconds, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”"

The difference between 4.68 and 4.78, for a team hoping to draft their ILB of the future means the team is willing to spend millions on you. Or not. What’s surprising is that Longa hasn’t gotten more press especially because in October of 2015 he had a career best 19 tackles against, at the time ranked #1 in the nation, Ohio State.

That’s 19 tackles in one game.

My Take on Steve Longa

When I watch Steve Longa I see an Inside Linebacker who can hit and tackle first and foremost. While Steve Longa seems smallish for an ILB he never backs down from contact and is almost always the one initiating it. He can cover from sideline to sideline and you can often find him going for the strip.

If the rankings stay the same it looks like the Chiefs could get Steve Longa in the 6th or 7th rounds. Here’s a video called, “Steve Longa Highlights, Tackle Machine, Rutgers.” Look out for Longa, he’s #3

Next: How about a DE/OLB like Tamba Hali?