In a continued effort to look at each undrafted rookie, today brings up the unlikely story of Mississippi State wide receiver, Lance Long. We looked at Anthony Morelli, Ali Highsmith and Keilen Dykes in the past but Long is a name that many fans had never heard of entering the draft. Long's numbers at Mississippi State aren't anything that will turn heads considering he totaled 46 receptions for 321 yards (7 yard average) and one touchdown (yea that's a total of three seasons not just one). Long was so far down on most draft lists that Pro Football Weekly profiled 127 receivers and long wasn't one of them. NFL draft scout ranked 300 potential wide receivers and Lance Long still wasn't one of them. So why were the Cardinals interested enough to sign him?
Long has always been as his name would suggest, a long shot (yea I know that's a very cheap play on words, but I just couldn't resist). He walked onto Mississippi State after a year at the University of Toledo and eventually was awarded a scholarship by his junior season. Long never stared at Mississippi State and never started more than 3 games in any single season but he did a little bit of everything including punt and kicks returns as well as playing on both coverage units. Long did turn some heads at Mississippi State's pro day though when he reeled off a 4.38 forty and had the fastest shuttle time of anyone in the country. That performance combined with some in-house familiarity (Arizona tight end coach was a coach of Long's in 2005) was enough for the Cardinals to take a look at the 5'11 186 pound receiver.
If Long hopes to stick around at the NFL level, he'll have to continue to be a versatile player who's willing to whatever a team asks of him. With the depth at wide receiver, it seems nearly impossible that he'll make the roster in 2008 but he is definitely a candidate for the practice squad because he's got the kind of athleticism that makes coaches drool. It should be very interesting to see how he's used in the preseason as well. Who's seen this kid play and what do you think of his chances to become an NFL player? Does he have a chance to stick around in the desert?