Bears

Bears NFL Draft Profile: RB Jeremy Langford

jeremy-langford-0412.png

Bears NFL Draft Profile: RB Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford (RB), Michigan State

6’0” | 208 lbs.

2014 stats:

276 carries, 1,522 yards, 22 touchdowns, 5.5 yards per carry, 117.1 yards per game

Selected:

Round 4, 106 overall

What scouts are saying:

"When discussing the top Big Ten running backs, Langford is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah or Indiana's Tevin Coleman. But with 12 straight 100-yard rushing performances against Big Ten competition, Langford earned his way into the conversation. Langford is the type of prospect that grows on you and the gap behind Gordon and Abdullah isn't as big as most think." — CBSSports.com

"Runs low to the ground with excellent pad level and energetic feet to get the most out of every touch. Displayed improved vision, balance and finishing ability as a senior. Langford is a workhorse type with a hard-nosed, no-nonsense style of running the ball, getting stronger as the game progresses. Has a little shake-and-bake to him to extend runs, keeping his legs pumping through contact. Langford really shines in areas where most young backs struggle like pass protection, reliability in the screen game and also the ability to get stronger and better as the game goes on." — Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com

"Langford showed improvement from 2013 to 2014, but he doesn't accelerate through contact and will usually get what is blocked. Without an ability to maximize his yards with each carry, teams could peg him as a 'committee back' with an ability to play on third downs." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Fit for the Bears:

The Bears weren't in the market for a starting running back, with Matt Forte firmly entrenched as one of the best running backs in the NFL. What has been a need worth addressing for the past several seasons, though, is a reliable backup for Forte. Guys like Michael Bush, Kahlil Bell, Marion Barber and Chester Taylor haven't worked out too well. General manager Ryan Pace is taking another stab at a veteran backup for Forte with his signing of Jacquizz Rodgers, though with the Bears looking for more of a long-term solution behind Forte or even an heir apparent, the draft has now been the way to go. Langford was excellent and the key piece in Michigan State's high-ranking offense last season in East Lansing, an under-appreciated back nationally given the focus on other stars at the same position in his conference. 

After being selected by the Bears, the sure-handed Langford will have a great opportunity to compete for the backup running back position right away.

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Here's where Allen Robinson ranks on list of 2021 NFL free agents

Here's where Allen Robinson ranks on list of 2021 NFL free agents

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson still doesn't have his contract extension. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious explanation for the delay in re-signing Chicago's most important offensive weapon to a multi-year deal, but as the calendar inches closer to the start of the 2020 regular season, the odds of inking A-Rob to a new contract get worse.

At some point, Robinson might decide it's better to play out the final year of his contract and improve his open-market value in 2021. The addition of Nick Foles should be a boon to Robinson's production, assuming he takes the field at some point this season. Robinson had nearly 100 catches and more than 1,100 yards catching passes from a devolved Mitch Trubisky and duck-and-chuck backup, Chase Daniel. Just imagine the kind of numbers Robinson would put up with steady quarterback play.

And with more production comes more cash.

READ: Todd McShay has Bears taking a QB in latest NFL Mock Draft

The Bears have to be very careful with their handling of Robinson. If they allow him to hit the open market, he won't be back. Teams will line up for his services and the bidding will get out of control. In fact, Robinson would command a contract that would put him at or near the top of the wide receiver market.

And this isn't just a Bears-biased opinion of Robinson. He's already regarded as one of the top players scheduled to hit free agency next winter, according to NFL.com.

7. Allen Robinson 

Robinson, who turns 27 later this month, would be known as one of the 10 best receivers in football if he played with better quarterbacks.

Ryan Pace has proven during his tenure in Chicago that he isn't afraid to pay his own players. He already did it this offseason with Eddie Jackson when he signed the Pro Bowl safety to a four-year, $58.4 million deal.

It isn't time to panic yet. Pace tends to take his time with these transactions and is infamous for getting big-money extensions signed by his guys on the eve of the regular season. Maybe Robinson will be the next guy in line.

He better be.

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE UNDER CENTER PODCAST FOR FREE.

NFL Mock Draft 2021: Todd McShay has Bears taking a quarterback

NFL Mock Draft 2021: Todd McShay has Bears taking a quarterback

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay published his first mock draft of the 2021 NFL draft cycle on Wednesday, which is exactly what all football fans need after the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences announced they're delaying football until the spring. The remaining Power 5 conferences could follow suit in the coming days. Draft season is already here, folks.

McShay's mock draft was a mix of chalk and surprises. Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson) was the first pick to the Jaguars, which almost every draft analyst assumes is a lock at this point. Lawrence is a franchise-changing quarterback prospect and whoever owns the first overall pick is going to take him. You can safely move on to the second pick, which is where McShay's first major curveball came.

At No. 2 overall, McShay has the Washington Football Team selecting Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II. 

Surtain is a surefire first-round pick but it isn't a slamdunk that he's the top cornerback in this year's draft class, let alone a top-five player overall. Instead, that distinction should go to Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who McShay has off the board at the third and fourth overall picks to the Bengals and Panthers respectively.

READ: 4 reasons to feel optimistic about the Bears in 2020

As for the Bears, McShay is one of many who are buying into the quarterback narrative. Chicago is expected to be one of the teams on the shortlist of clubs targeting a passer in Round 1 next April (assuming the draft is in April). In this mock, McShay sends the Bears Trey Lance, the North Dakota State star who enjoyed a 41-touchdown, zero-turnover season as a passer and runner in 2019.

"Lance is big, athletic and tough, and he absolutely dominated the FCS last season," McShay wrote of the Bears' pick at No. 14 overall. "He threw zero interceptions on nearly 300 pass attempts in 2019 and offered dual-threat production, rushing for 50-plus yards in nine of his 16 games. The Bears need a guy they can build around, and they can't afford to whiff this time around.

"Chicago's thoughts on Mitchell Trubisky were made clear when it didn't give him his fifth-year option and signed a soon-to-be 32-year-old Foles who is coming off an injury-plagued, poor 2019 season. Lance is a third-year sophomore with some questions still to be answered -- including whether he'd want to declare for the draft at all -- but the Bears would love to get this talented signal-caller in the middle of the first round based on his ceiling."

Lance will be a fascinating player to monitor over the next few months. He, unlike some of the other top prospects from bigger programs, needs another season of tape to solidify his grade as an early first-round pick. It doesn't look like he's going to get it.

RELATED: Is Mitch Trubisky the Bears' biggest liability this season?

Lance is making a jump from a lower level of competition at the game's most complex position. He only has 288 pass attempts on his collegiate resume. Compare that to Trubisky, who entered the NFL with 386 college pass attempts and was considered inexperienced and raw during the 2017 draft cycle.

Can Ryan Pace (or whoever is the Bears' general manager during the 2021 draft)  roll the dice on another quarterback who has just one season as a starter? It seems like an easy answer (which is 'No' in case you're wondering). 

Buckle up. It's going to be an extremely long draft season with dozens and dozens of mock drafts between now and April. Players like Lance will move up and down the first round, and pundits will cycle through names for the Bears' first-rounder like Chicago's gone through kickers in recent years. 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE UNDER CENTER PODCAST FOR FREE.