Langford turned some heads at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine when he posted the fastest 40-yard dash time among running backs -- 4.42 seconds. Coming out of a conference like the Big Ten that is loaded with running back talent, including Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah and Tevin Coleman, Langford hasn't received as much hype as the rest of the bunch. I went to the tape to see if this was deserved, or if fantasy owners might have a new name to target on draft day.
» Good feet and balance
» Good hands; Also played WR in college
» Solid pass-protecting fundamentals
» Best 40 at the combine (4.42 seconds)
Langford's speed pops on tape as when the hole is there he is quick to get through it to the second level. He's also an adept pass-catcher, having played some wide receiver for Michigan State during his underclassmen years.
Combining Langford's abilities as a receiver with his above average pass-blocking skills should help him see the field early as a rookie. Rule No. 1 for many NFL teams is protecting the quarterback, and Langford should be able to hold down that part of the bargain.
» Needs to develop more moves
» Not a physical runner
» Rarely got more than what was blocked
» Didn't break enough tackles
While there are parts of Langford's game that pop, overall watching him run I got the impression that he's very average. I don't mean that disparagingly, but he doesn't have that "it" factor or "wow" factor to make me believe he'll thrive at the next level.
He doesn't break many tackles, rarely turned small opportunities into big gains, and didn't finish his runs well. Those are all things running backs need to be able to do at the NFL level to succeed as an every-down back and contribute in fantasy. From what I saw, Langford looks like he'll be an ideal NFL backup or rotational player.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
No backfield rotates in more players than the Patriots, so why wouldn't they take a lesser prospect like Langford and turn him into absolute gold? Seems very Patriot-y. I wouldn't mind seeing Langford learn for a year or two behind Frank Gore either, as Langford shows some similar traits in his patience to Gore, but could stand to learn from someone with a tremendous work ethic and knowledge of the game. Detroit lost Reggie Bush, and while I love Theo Riddick, it'd make sense for them to back up Joique Bell with another bigger bodied runner like Langford.
Early fantasy draft projection
I'm not huge on Langford in fantasy for 2015 or the long-term, but I'm just a guy who writes about fantasy football and watches all together too many movies and too much TV. He could turn out to be a stud and I could end up eating these words. Or, Langford could turn into a solid NFL backup, just not one worth spending a pick on in fantasy drafts as I think he might.