Best Bears Draft Pick That Everyone Hated at First but Eventually Grew to Love

Kyle Long

Critics' Picks

With the 20th pick in the NFL draft, the Chicago Bears selected Kyle Long, offensive guard, Oregon—and the collective response from Bears fans was, "The fuck?" To be fair, Long's story didn't precede him. He started his collegiate career playing baseball for Florida State, piddled around in community college before deciding to switch to football, and played just one season at the FBS level for the Oregon Ducks, a team at a school most people east of the Mississippi are more or less clueless about. But none of that mattered, because the guy can seriously play. That's why everyone who scorned him in May was singing his praises in November, when he was blasting defensive lineman and giving Matt Forte the best running lanes he's ever seen. And he's proved to be a stand-up guy, to boot: the 25-year-old Long recently spent an entire day at Chuck E. Cheese's with a kid whose father tweeted at him about his son getting bullied on a school bus. Duck fans like me are still upset he was denied a last season of eligibility, but we'll let it slide.