The Denver Broncos have a stacked running back corps, relatively speaking. Pro Bowler C.J. Anderson leads the unit, with two recent high-round picks in Montee Ball (2013 second round) and Ronnie Hilliman (2012 third round) backing him up. Rounding out the group is Juwan Thompson, a former undrafted rookie free agent out of Duke.
And yet, the Broncos are doing their homework on the 2015 class of running backs. Gary Kubiak might very well be simply looking to handpick his own back to fit his zone running scheme.
This week, they brought in Michigan State's Jeremy Langford and Minnesota's David Cobb. The 6-foot-0, 208-pound Langford is the more accomplished of the two runners, having rushed for 2,944 yards and 40 touchdowns over the last two seasons, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
At 5-foot-11, 229 pounds, Cobb carried the ball 17 times less over the last two years, totaling 2,828 yards and 20 touchdowns—but their YPC average is almost identical. Cobb has more of the prototypical NFL body—one constructed to take the beating of an every-down running back.
At his Pro Day, Cobb ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, displaying the requisite NFL speed, and making up for his lackluster 4.81 40-time at the NFL Scouting Combine, during which he injured his hamstring, to be fair.
Langford ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the Combine, but he weighs more than 20 pounds less than Cobb. Both players were invited to and attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, back in January, which Mile High Huddle attended and reported on.
Langford displayed some great footwork, lateral agility and the speed to outrun linebackers, but Cobb, who has a low center of gravity like C.J. Anderson, was the more impressive of the two—hitting the hole with authority, making his decision to cut downhill and running with physicality.
Both players were on the North Squad and other than Northern Iowa’s David Johnson, who was on the South Squad, I came away most impressed with David Cobb. Both players will hear their name called in the opening rounds of day two of the NFL Draft.
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Scout.com’s leading draft scout Dave-Te Thomas has assigned Jeremy Langford a second round grade, while doling out a third round designation for David Cobb. Both prospects figure to have impactful NFL careers, and all things being equal, I like Cobb’s upside more.
But Langford is likely a better fit for the zone running scheme, although no doubt Cobb could thrive in the ZRS, too. As a former wide receiver, Langford has the hands and experience to contribute on third down. He also has a nose for the endzone, as his 40 touchdowns over two seasons would attest to.
In the clip below, Jeremy Langford talks about his game and is unconcern for Big Ten backs not getting as much publicity.
In the clip below, David Cobb explains that he's not concerned about where he'll go in the upcoming NFL Draft.
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