Addressing the media after the second day of the 2016 draft, Bears G.M. Ryan Pace didn’t rule out flipping Long to the left side — and keeping him at tackle.
“He’s so athletic and you guys know he could play any position,” Pace said on whether Long could be moved to left tackle. “So I wouldn’t rule anything out for Kyle, but he can play anywhere.”
Playing left tackle could be good for Long when it comes to his second contract, since that position pays more than any other along the offensive line.
Wherever Long ends up for 2016, that could be where he stays. Said Pace in February: “The main thing with Kyle is we need to make this decision after the player acquisition period is over with and try to leave him at a certain spot. I think it’s easy for him to go back to guard. It would be harder if we put him at guard and then put him back out at tackle. We’ve just got to go through this player acquisition period and see how the chips fall and then put him in a spot and let him grow there.”
While left tackle traditionally is regarded as the most important position of the five, the concerted effort to find and develop pass rushers from every spot in the defensive front seven makes every piece of an offensive line critical. The challenge for every team is to find a way to get their best blockers on the field at the same time, and to parlay limited offseason and training-camp reps into getting the quintet to gel as a unit as early as possible in the regular season.