While NFL is King of the fall-winter time, the Crown Prince is NCAA Football. Probably all NFL fans have some level of interest in the games that occur on Saturdays, whether it be the very different dynamic and energy of the College environment, the interest in a "minor league NFL", or vested interest in your Alma Mater, there's lots of good reasons to watch football on Saturdays. But the reason to watch upwards of 15 hours of football on the day before the Day of Rest is to scout potential future Raiders. The Oregon Ducks have a player who is destined to be a Raider.
Spell it with me : L. O. N. G.
That simple four letter word should conjure images of one of the Raider great linemen : Howie Long. His is a name that should resonate with all fans. The Raiders missed out on Chris Long to St Louis' benefit. And if you were saddened at that, imagining the #75 Long jersey assigned once again, I understand. But in Yoda fashion (from Empire Strikes Back), "There is another."
Howie Long's OTHER son, Kyle is a backup Left Tackle (left OFFENSIVE Tackle, that is) with the Oregon Ducks. His initially chosen sporting career was as a left-handed power pitching prospect with the Florida State Seminoles, purportedly throwing a 96 mph heater. But things did not quite work out and he's gone back to football and is reportedly a physical specimen and perhaps the most athletically gifted offensive lineman on the team. AND with a nasty streak, also. 6'7" 311, fantastic physical gifts, mean streak, and Hall of Fame bloodline? If he were an underclassman, we might be talking about him as a potential #1 overall pick; but unfortunately, he has already used up 3 years of eligibility and is now a senior, though he has petitioned the NCAA for another year.
It's possible that he will break into the starting lineup eventually (from the sounds of it, sooner rather than later) and if he's the starting left tackle in the Rose Bowl, there's going to be a lot of attention on him. He's likely to have a fantastic combine (if invited) and Pro Day. But regardless, with just one year of major College Football, he's going to be a rather raw prospect going into the 2013 draft. How far that drops him, that's a question for the draftniks.
But imagine if the Raiders were to get him, pair him up with Wisniewski and Veldheer. Three offensive line position set for a decade with two legacies. It's enough to send a Raider fan into spasms of giddiness.
This past weekend as the Oregon Ducks were destroying the outmanned Arkansas State Red Wolves, Kyle Long came in with the backups to get some extensive playing time. So, Raider fans, if you've space on your DVR and have any kind of interest in College football, try to keep up with the Ducks. They are a fun team to watch (young QB Mariota is a fantastic prospect already and that fast-break offense is as much fun as watching Tarkanian's Running Rebels basketball team) and we can revisit the Kyle Long discussion in about 4 months.
Here's a short video clip where Matt Millen gushes about him [link].