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White Sox familiar with Bears' top pick

CHICAGO -- Doug Laumann was in Cincinnati, at a Perfect Game baseball showcase during the summer of 2007, when the White Sox director of amateur scouting saw a young man walking in the bleachers who "looked like Paul Bunyan."

That particular young man was Kyle Long, whom the White Sox drafted in the 23rd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, and whom the Chicago Bears made their top selection at No. 20 in Thursday night's first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

"My son, Jackson, was with me, he was 13 at the time, and we were both like, 'Who is this dude?'" said Laumann, speaking Friday morning in the midst of one of his scouting trips in preparation for the June 6 First-Year Player Draft. "We figured he was a college football player from the University of Cincinnati and watching the Perfect Game showcase.

"We started asking around and found out he was a player. He was a man amongst boys, throwing 95 or 96 [mph] from the left side."

Laumann went on to explain that the University of Cincinnati baseball field measured 385 feet to right field and then there was another 40 feet beyond the fence until you reached the six-story building housing the basketball arena. Long was hitting baseballs off the top of that building, some 440 feet from home plate.

"A can't-miss first-round pick for that next year," Laumann said.

When Long, the son of former NFL great Howie Long, returned to high school for his senior season, though, Laumann said that he didn't throw a pitch over 86 or 87 and he couldn't make any contact. The White Sox took Long as basically a draft-and-follow in Round 23, but Long understood the White Sox simply wanted to follow his summer progress and didn't seem to have much interest in coming aboard, instead attending Florida State University.

"There was an unbelievable amount of strength in that body," said Laumann of Long. "It's hard to turn away from 95 or 96 from the left side.

"He probably went home from that showcase and got ready for high school football season. He was probably playing baseball at 235 [pounds] that summer to 270 or 275 playing football. I don't think he ever got his body back loose enough to play again."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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