Jeremy Langford Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener


Today marks 36 days from the time that the Chicago Bears will kick off the 2015 regular season against the Green Bay Packers. Of course that means our Countdown to Kickoff series continues today with a profile on the player who wears #36. That player will be rookie running back Jeremy Langford.

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The Bears selected Langford in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Michigan State University. Langford entered his college career as a defensive back, but made the transition to the running back position before his sophomore season. It certainly seems that Langford made a wise decision there.

He played back-up to Le’Veon Bell during his sophomore season, but Langford won the Spartans’ starting running back job the next season and never looked back. During his first season as the featured back, Langford rushed for 1,422 yards on a 4.9 yards per carry average and 18 touchdowns, helping lead the Spartans to a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl victory.

He had even more individual success last season, finishing with 1,522 yards on 5.5 yards per carry and 22 touchdowns. Langford graduated with the eighth most rushing yards in Michigan State history, and his 577 carries are less than any player ranked ahead of him on the list. It was only two seasons, but they were two extremely impressive seasons for Langford’s college career.

Langford showcased an extremely balanced and patient style of running at Michigan State. He has great ball carrier vision and has a solid combination of speed, quickness and power that should translate to the next level. In fact, Langford’s 4.42 40-yard dash time was the fastest out of all the running backs at the scouting combine. He is not typically though-of as a burner, but Langford has shown some promising speed and quickness.

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Jeremy Langford runs with the ball in a drill during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What to Expect from Langford in 2015

I am a strong believer in Langford’s ability at the running back position. He was one of my favorite backs in this draft class, and the Bears nabbing him in the fourth round was highway robbery in my eyes. In fact, I think he will begin to be groomed as the replacement for Matt Forte this season. Ka’Deem Carey will certainly have something to say about that, but for me, Langford is Forte’s heir apparent.

One thing is for sure, Langford is making wise decisions to better place himself as a strong replacement for Forte. According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN, Forte and Langford worked-out together this off season, and the rookie appears to be soaking up plenty of knowledge during his time with the veteran.

“We trained together and I showed him my routine and how I kind of do it, which is really smart of him to get behind and older, veteran guy and try to learn the routine of what he does in the offseason,” Forte said, according to Dickerson. “We worked out for a couple of weeks and he’s a down-to-earth, humble type of kid. All the running backs pretty much have that same kind of mentality too.”

“Forte has been a consistent good running back in the league for a while now, so I felt like getting a chance to be able to learn from him and him being willing to teach me, you’ve got to stay behind and learn from him because he’s done a great job in the NFL,” Langford said. “He works hard. You can tell he’s been in the league for a reason. He’s a hard worker and he does what he has to do.”

It may be nothing, but I find it satisfying to hear that Langford is doing everything he can to learn from the guy who has become one of the greatest running backs in the history of the franchise. When it comes down to it, learning from Forte will only make Langford a better player.

Barring injury to Forte, I do not expect to see much of Langford in 2015. While I expect he will be Forte’s primary back-up, Carey, Jacquizz Rodgers and maybe even Daniel Thomas will be pushing for playing time as well. Forte is such a balanced back that he does not typically need a stable behind him, but the Bears have some intriguing options anyway. Carries will be tough to come-by.

That being said, Forte is a free agent next off season. The Bears drafted Langford for a reason, and if they feel like he can get them by, and signing Forte is not necessary, he could quickly be looking at a huge role in 2016. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though, for now Langford is a fourth-round rookie who needs to prove himself at the NFL level.

However, he is a talented player who we should certainly be keeping an eye on during training camp and throughout the 2015 season.

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