Ex-Rams Defender Given Early Projection to Start for New Team

David Long

Getty David Long celebrates his pick six on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood.

When he was with the Los Angeles Rams, cornerback David Long played in 52 total games but was only given 10 starts across his four seasons inside the “Rams House.” Eventually, rookies like Decobie Durant and Derion Kendrick became a part of limiting Long’s snaps.

But now, Long is already considered an early prediction to start for his newest team the Las Vegas Raiders.

Tashan Reed, Raiders insider for The Athletic, gave his “best guess” on Thursday, March 23 at what the starting secondary for the Silver and Black would look like at this moment…and has the former Ram as a starter.

Long, 25, is paired with Duke Shelley at CB. Also telling is Amik Robertson goes from seven-game starter for the Raiders to being demoted to one of the primary backups with the Super Bowl winning CB Long inserted into this defense. The even taller option Sam Webb, at 6-foot-2, is part of the backup group behind the 5-foot-11 Long. The fifth-year CB Long signed a one-year deal with the Raiders on Wednesday, March 22.

Long had Up-&-Down Moments With the Rams

Though Long starred collegiately at the University of Michigan, he was considered a local pickup via the 2019 NFL Draft at No. 79 overall to the Rams as Long originally grew up in L.A. and starred at nearby Loyola High School.

Long managed to see eight games of action with no starts his rookie season — ending 2019 with nine tackles, eight solo stops and two pass deflections.

In 2020, his game action went to all 16 games — but only one start and his tackles including solo were fewer than his rookie total. Then in 2021, Long not only snatched his first career interception, but was the recipient of this pick six during the Rams’ march to the Vince Lombardi Trophy:

His ’21 campaign was his best statistical season yet with 40 tackles, 35 solo stops and four pass deflections. He also started in a career-high five games. Also per Pro Football Focus, Long allowed a 65.1 completion percentage his side and surrendered a career-low of 11.6 yards per reception his side.

However, Long again had up-and-down moments as a Ram. In 2022 he allowed a higher percentage of catches at 74.2%. The average yards per catch his side also went up to 12.7. PFF then gave him a 54.2 coverage grade after handing him 62.2 the previous season.

Is Long Already a Fit for the Silver & Black?

Long came from a Rams defense that played a high number of man coverage. The scheme he’s walking into in Sin City is more man based.

Long, though, got used to multiple schemes because he played for three different defensive coordinators in L.A. from Wade Phillips, to Brandon Staley to Raheem Morris — the latter still keeping a number of the same principles Staley bequeathed as he took the Chargers head coaching job and left the defense to Morris. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review Journal pointed out on Wednesday, he expects Long and the Raiders to be a match.

“In a nutshell, yes. Tidbit about Long: He was drafted under the then-Wade Phillips @Rams defense, which was based on man coverage. Brandon Staley brought a different scheme, more zone coverage. Would expect Raiders scheme to fit his skill set,” Bonsignore tweeted.

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