As we draw closer to the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, we know there are certainly prospects who will likely have to wait till Day 2 or Day 3 to hear their names called.
Boston College tight end Hunter Long has a decent chance of being selected on Friday, in round 2 or round 3. He will likely slot in after Kyle Pitts, Pat Freiermuth and possibly Brevin Jordan, all of whom are projected to go ahead of the Eagles' prospect.
On that note, let’s take a closer look at what Hunter Long could bring to the table for his first NFL team.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Hunter Long
--Height: 6' 5".
--Weight: 253 pounds.
--Position: Tight End.
--School: Boston College.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Hunter Long’s strengths
If Hunter Long is going to make his mark on the NFL early in his career, it will likely be as a receiver.
Long has a tall and wide frame and is a big target any quarterback would love throwing to on third down. He has got a great ability to lock in when the pass is heading in his direction and doesn’t figure to drop many passes thrown right in between the numbers.
When featured in two tight end sets in the NFL, Hunter Long could be a reliable chain-moving type of player for teams.
Long could be a matchup issue for certain teams. He likely won’t be a difference-maker against some of the more agile linebackers in the NFL, but he could certainly get open against two down players, who are primarily in the game to stop the run.
He tends to get faster as the route develops, which often leaves slower defensive players a step or two behind. Landing on a team with a creative offensive coordinator would immensely benefit Hunter Long’s first-year prospects.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Hunter Long’s Weaknesses
Hunter Long’s value pretty much resides with his ability to catch the football. Unfortunately, he will need some time to hone other aspects of his game, the reason why he may not get drafted in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL draft.
To see meaningful time on the field in the NFL, Long will need to improve his blocking considerably. At this stage of his career, he isn’t reliable enough to keep his man out of the backfield or run on pass plays. Unless he is exclusively used in the slot or split out wide, Hunter Long has to show he can be an in line player to cement his value in NFL teams.
It's part of the blocking story as well, but Hunter Long did not display the type of aggression and mean streak that evaluators would like to see.
It seemed like too often, Hunter Long would not continue to try to hold his block, even if the defender gets a slight edge on him. He would also sometimes be taken out of the play by tight physical coverage, and he doesn't use his speed to outmaneuver his defender.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Hunter Long’s career at Boston College
Originally from New Hampshire, Hunter Long decided to stay local and play his college ball at nearby Boston College.
He got off to a slow start as a freshman from a consistency standpoint, only appearing in four games that year. However, Hunter Long certainly made his limited time count that season, averaging over 25 yards per catch and reeling in two touchdowns as well.
Hunter Long became more of a focal point of the Eagles' offense in his sophomore and junior seasons, playing in 11 games in each campaign.
His knack for stretching the field was evident in year 2, as he was able to maintain an average catch figure of over 18 yards. In his junior year and final season at Boston College, Hunter Long became more of an outlet closer to the line of scrimmage. He caught a career-high 57 passes in 2020 for 12 yards per reception.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Hunter Long’s career receiving stats
--Receiving Yards: 1,297.
--Receiving Touchdowns: 9.