#NFLRank: No. 40 Chris Long

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Now the most tenured player on the Rams' roster, defensive end Chris Long, is also the team’s highest ranked player on the #NFLRank list of the top 100 players in the league.

Long checked in at No. 40 on today’s list, which revealed Nos. 31-40 in the ongoing project.

Long joins linebacker James Laurinaitis (No. 57) and cornerback Cortland Finnegan (No. 63) among Rams defenders to make the list. Offensive tackle Jake Long is the lone Rams offensive player to make it, coming in at No. 61.

Defense, No. 40 Chris Long

Stats & Info: Long had an NFC-high 7.5 sacks when offenses employed six or more pass-blockers. Three of those sacks came when the Rams sent a standard pass rush, tied for second most in the NFC.

My take: For most of the past three seasons, Long has been one of the league’s most underrated pass-rushers. He’s routinely been the target of double teams and his teams have almost never played with a lead. Ranking 40th is nothing to sneeze at but I’d probably have Long a bit higher on the list, especially given some of the names that rank above him just in today’s reveal. Although sacks are a good indicator of pass-rush ability, Long also ranks near the top of the league in quarterback hits and hurries. With the emergence of Robert Quinn opposite him and other talented linemen in his group, Long should continue to see more one-on-one opportunities. If those opportunities come with the occasional lead from what is expected to be an improved offense, Long could find himself even higher on this list next year.