With the 106th pick in the fourth round, the Chicago Bears selected running back Jeremy Langford from Michigan State. The 6-0, 210 back totaled 2,944 yards over the past two years, with 22 touchdowns in 2014.
Langford is a prototypical John Fox back and should see a small amount of snaps in his rookie year.
- Excellent pad level.
- Tough and physical running style.
- Strong in pass protection: “Definitely picking up blitzes, hitting the linebackers in there. I was responsible for that at Michigan State a lot and I feel like I can do that real well to protect the quarterback," Langford said. "And catching the ball out of the backfield. I feel like that’s key in the game today is having a running back who can catch the ball and I feel like I can do both of those very well.”
- Quick feet.
- High level of college production.
- Versatility. He played both receiver and defensive back in college. “At the time when I was younger it was a little frustrating, but as the older I got I felt it helped me out in my future games, in my last two years playing I think it helped me out in knowing the whole playbook by playing receiver and knowing defenses at corner. So I feel like it all helped me out in the long run. And I was very excited to get back to running back and put it all together.”
- Lacks ideal speed top-end speed.
- Not overly athletic.
- Not very physical for his size.
Langford is not a flashy back and may not be a full-time starter in the NFL. With that being said, he fits like a glove in a John Fox running back committee, which is the expectation after Matt Forte’s contract runs out. He ran the fasted 40 time amongst running backs at 4.42 but he does not consistently play at that speed. Overall, Langford will probably never be a Top-10 back in this league but that is not what his role with be for this team in an eventual committee.
Pro Comparison: C.J. Anderson
What does this mean for Ka'Deem Carey and/or Jacquizz Rodgers?
This is not a ringing endorsement for Carey. Last year’s fourth rounder has been put on notice. Rodgers was a fringe player from the time the signing happened up until today and that does not change with this draft pick. The team could elect to go with four backs coming out of training camp but this pick is a reminder that neither player’s roster spot is safe.
What does this mean for Matt Forte?
Ultimately, this will be Forte’s last year with the Bears, or at least as the featured back in John Fox’s system. Forte will be 30 years old going into next offseason and the statistics are against him moving forward to be successful after the 30-year milestone, especially with Forte looking for one last large payday.
A Few Takeaways from the Press Conference
- When asked about contact with the Bears through the draft process: “No, I didn’t have a feeling at all. It just threw me for a loop. I think I talked to the Bears a couple times at the Senior Bowl or the Combine. But besides that, this threw me for a loop. I had no idea. But I’m glad to be there.”
- Langford on where he watched the draft on how he felt: “It was hard. I was home with my family watching the draft. Hopefully I was thinking third round. But I talked to my agent and he said it should be early fourth and that’s what happened. I was here with my family and my little brothers and we were all excited. It kind of caught me off guard at the time.”
- Langford on Matt Forte: “I watch Matt Forte a lot. That’s who I watch. I see him stand up linebackers all the time in blitz pick-up. I feel like he does it all. He catches the ball out of the backfield very well. He blocks linebackers very well. I learned a lot watching his film to be able to block linebackers. I feel like he does it. He has the whole package.”
Aaron Leming has years of salary cap knowledge and has written for Rant Sports, Bears Draft On Tap, and Cover 32. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report.