By: Hussam Patel
At 6’5 and 254 pounds, Hunter Long is a big dude on the football field. In my last article, he was shown to be the main receiver for Boston College in 2020. He ran some nice routes and delivered when his name was called; surely it will happen sometime in the future in South Florida.
In the initial scouting report done at the NFL Draft, Long was touted as a versatile option who had experience in blocking and receiving at different spots in the Boston College offense. Long definitely has the size and length to succeed as a blocker in the NFL and has room to master his route running.
Currently, he is a TE2 on the Dolphins; however, at some point in the future he can be the focal TE for this offense and be a significant contributor similar to his role at Boston College.
Hunter Long is a good blocker but will need to add functional strength to deal with bigger EDGE rushers and linebackers. At BC he was one of the first blockers getting off the line in pass plays but was even better as a run blocker.
Long will be a crucial piece to get Miami’s run game going this season, as it was lacking for the last two seasons. He plays off the tackle, seals the edge well enough against Defensive Linemen and is able to climb to the second level against LB’s and DB’s. His foot placement is smooth but will need to get quicker working against faster LB’s and DB’s.
In the NFL, he will need to improve his functional strength to get better in pass and run blocking against bigger defenders at the line of scrimmage and be quicker in his hand placement while anchoring his body.
Hunter Long is a pretty solid route runner in terms of what he ran at Boston College, and ultimately became the #1 receiving threat. He’s smooth coming off the line and in and out of his breaks when lined out wide. He understands how to use his body and gives defenders illusory moves to fin open space in zone coverage.
What surprised me for a player of his size is that he actually has long speed to get away from defenders and gain a good number of yards after the catch. He can bulldoze his way through contact, picks up his play speed as his route builds up, and attacks the seam on short, intermediate, and deep throws.
His hand-fighting skills are above average, plucking the ball at the top of his routes, and he uses his size to bring the ball down with his soft hands. I’ve routinely seen him scramble at times with his quarterback - mirroring what Jurkovec does in Green Bay - and focuses on the ball when it comes his way.
Long will need to get better at breaking on his routes in the NFL, as he usually just tries to get to the end of his routes in college. At times he would get away with it, but at others he struggles against press, especially if he is running the usual flat routes. He can be inconsistent at dropping the ball but doesn’t actively fight to catch the ball.
Hunter Long can be a versatile option that is experienced blocking and running routes from different alignments in a pro-style offense. He has the size and strength to become an in-line blocker, but his athletic profile suggest he may need to improve his core strength and anchor his body.
He has time to develop his route-running technique his first year in the NFL and get better with his inconsistencies in catching the ball. Long projects as a great TE2 in a 12-personnel heavy offense with the possibility of becoming a TE1 in the future. He can become like Hunter Henry.
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