It's not often NFL teams use a first-round pick on a right guard, but it appears the Chicago Bears may have done just that as Kyle Long, the No. 20 pick in the NFL Draft, spent most of rookie minicamp playing right guard.
Long played left guard at Oregon, but shifted to the right side during minicamp. It's not that Long isn't capable of playing left guard, but instead the move was done with an eye on future division matchups. Chicago offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said solidifying right guard is important because the Bears will have to face Ndamukong Suh and other stout defensive tackles in the NFC North.
"I am still trying to find the best five and where they fit best," said Kromer, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. "Suh plays over the right guard and we have to win the division first. Obviously, at Green Bay they flip their tackles, so they could have B.J. Raji on both sides. We want to make sure that we have good matchups in these games. We drafted these guys to win the division first."
While Long could stay at right guard, Kromer said the off season is a time to work out guys at multiple positions so they would be ready if a change needed to be made during the regular season. Long played some right tackle during minicamp as well, but he's unlikely to factor there this season with J'Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott competing for the starting job. Chicago signed Matt Slauson who played most of his career at left guard.
When the Bears drafted Long in the first round, there was some thought that he may be a college guard who would be able to move to tackle in the NFL. While that may still prove to be the case, it appears he will begin his career inside.
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