Versatility was the word of the day for Boston College tight end Hunter Long.
Long wanted to showcase exactly that — his versatility — to the 35 NFL scouts and coaches in attendance Friday afternoon at Fish Field House for BC’s annual Pro Day.
“I’ve always prided my game on being a well-rounded tight end, a three-down tight end who can do everything,” he said. “You can flex me out, you can put me in the slot, you can put me in line, I feel comfortable anywhere on the field.”
With no scouting combine scheduled to take place this offseason, Friday’s workout gave Long an opportunity to gain valuable face time with NFL personnel. As one of the top tight end prospects in this year’s draft class, he also had received an invitation to the Senior Bowl in January but ended up missing the final practice as well as the game with a small setback.
Two months later, however, all appears to be well.
Long participated in position-specific drills as well the typical combine tests. His unofficial 40-yard dash times were 4.63 and 4.69 seconds. He finished the three-cone drill in 7.41 seconds and logged a vertical jump of 32.5 inches.
“His workout was awesome,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “He ran really well. He looked big. I thought in the position drills, he lit it up. It was about as good as I’ve seen him look.”
Hafley noted he believes scouts were “happily surprised” at Long’s speed.
But many of the questions Hafley fielded about Long pertained to his versatility. Hafley listed the ability to play in multiple positions as one of Long’s biggest strengths, and something that’s hard to find in the NFL.
Not only can Long potentially be the focal point of an offense — he caught 57 passes for 685 yards and five touchdowns as a redshirt junior — but he can function as a blocker in a run-heavy scheme where he only sees a few targets per game, too.
At 6 feet 5 inches and 253 pounds, he also boasts size and mobility.
“You got a guy who can run routes, a huge threat in the red zone,” Hafley said. “But then also you got a guy who on first and second down can line up as an in-line tight end. You can move him around. You can put him in the backfield. You can split him out to create mismatches.”
Ahead of the draft, Long said he’s been in touch with multiple former teammates, including Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney, Patriots practice-squad tight end Jake Burt, and Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon.
Long plans to watch the draft with his family and close friends in Exeter, N.H. His projections have remained consistent, with most analysts expecting him to go in the third or fourth round.
McDuffie, Richardson work out
BC linebackers Isaiah McDuffie and Max Richardson also participated in Friday’s Pro Day.
As the team’s leading tacklers last season, both players have the potential to go in the late rounds or catch on as undrafted free agents. McDuffie has met virtually with at least a dozen NFL teams, including the Patriots.
Hafley had plenty of nice things to say about the pair of 2020 graduates.
“He’s got great speed,” Hafley said about McDuffie, who finished the 40-yard dash with unofficial times of 4.59 and 4.61 seconds.
“He’s extremely physical. He plays with his hair on fire. He practices that way. He’s extremely tough. I think, in a league where you need guys who can run, that’s what he can do. He’s a linebacker who can run. That’s very important right now in most NFL schemes.”
With Richardson, Hafley focused on his presence in meeting rooms.
“Max is one of the smarter football players I’ve ever been around,” he said. “Players like that, who are instinctive like Max, they get on a team and they can stay there for a long time because guys like that are very valuable. He’s tough; he’s competitive.”
McDuffie and Richardson have been working out together, regularly checking in with each other about their training.
“We’re each other’s biggest fans,” McDuffie said.
Big deals for recruiting
Several former BC players inked lucrative deals this offseason: Linebacker Matt Milano signed a four-year, $44 million extension with the Buffalo Bills; safety Justin Simmons signed a four-year, $61 million contract with the Denver Broncos; and safety John Johnson signed a four-year, $33.8 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Though Hafley didn’t coach these players, their success could prove to benefit him on the recruiting trail.
“I think it’s big,” Hafley said. “That’s going to allow us to become a very competitive football team. I’m thrilled just to be a part of that.”
Nicole Yang can be reached at email@example.com.