Lying Long

By Adam Caparell - April 26, 2008

NEW YORK - Every prospective draft pick will tell you they don't care where they get picked and during the week leading up to the draft that's all Chris Long would tell you. He just wanted to get picked, he insisted, he didn't care where or when. Well, apparently he lied.

"I wanted to go to St. Louis," Long said, laughing, after the Rams made him the No. 2 selection. "I mean, I had an open mind this morning when I woke up and just tried to stay as calm as possible. I knew that I was going to be a St. Louis Ram when you guys knew. So really it was a huge adrenaline rush. Best moment of my life."

The last time Long had spoken with St. Louis was on Tuesday so he had no inkling the Rams were going to take him.

"I knew that I was in the running, but at this point anybody who was here today, and thanfully we all went 1 through 6, we could have all gone anywhere," Long said. "I think it just comes down to needs and the way they're feeling in that building that particular day and in that minute."

Virginia coach Al Groh was in attendance and was very proud of his defensive end going No. 2 . But not nearly as proud as Long's father - NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long - who was beaming from ear to ear while conducting a beavy of interviews.

"I'm very appreciative to be here with him," Groh said. "Chris as a kid has been so diligent in his commitment to playing at the highest level of performance. It's just heart-warming to see this come about for him."

This was Groh's second time at the draft in the past few seasons. D'Brickashaw Ferguson was taken with the No. 4 pick in the 2006 draft by the New York Jets. And later on in the middle of the first round, Groh saw guard Branden Albert go to Kansas City with the No. 15 selection.

"One of the fulfilling things of being the coach is to see the players realize their dreams," Groh said. "It's all about the players first."

Groh knows better than most what it takes to make in the NFL having spent a number of years as an assistant and serving for one season as the head coach of the New York Jets. And Groh expects big things from Long in due time.

"Chris' techniques are very sophisticated for a player coming out of college," Groh said. "He realizes that he's going to have to add to that. He's going to a different level of competition, but at this stage he's got a head start on developing the techniques to be a productive NFL defensive players. Plus he's got the humility to know there's a lot more to be done."

Posted by Adam Caparell at 06:16 PM on April 26, 2008

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