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Rookie of the year watch: Langford rocking status quo

Bears rookie running back Jeremy Langford has been so impressive the past two weeks that impending free agent Matt Forte is starting to question his future in Chicago.

A wide receiver when he first arrived at Michigan State, Langford has excelled as a dual-purpose threat since replacing the injured Forte three weeks ago.

"He can catch. The catch he made on the 'go' route -- wide receivers have a tough time on that catch," coach John Fox raved after Langford's impressive performance versus the Chargers. "He's explosive. He can take short runs into longer runs. I thought he had a great night."

The fourth-round pick has done his best Forte impression, racking up 324 yards from scrimmage the past two weeks.

Forte is right to wonder if he will be playing in a different uniform next season. The Bears can replace him at a fraction of the cost.

Langford isn't the only greenhorn on the rise. Here is Around The NFL's latest Rookie of the Year watch for Week 11:

1. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams running back: Gurley was a Sports Illustrated cover boy this week for a Greg Bishop story which features the following quotes:

From Rams general manager Les Snead: "He reminds you of three or four different people, and those people, they're usually the best at one style or skill. That's what's rare about Todd. It takes like four backs to become one him."

From Georgia coach Mark Richt: "His blood pumps differently than most people's. "He's not your normal 'great back' even. From the waist down, he's built like a Clydesdale. He just glides."

From Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, the rookie record holder for rushing yards: "He's a different kind of runner. He has great speed, great moves, great instincts. I told everyone before the draft: He's going to be a monster."

2. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders wide receiver: Cooper versus Lions cornerback Darius Slay will be one of the marquee matchups of Week 11. Coming off back-to-back dynamite performances, Slay is Pro Football Focus' No. 2 cornerback over the past five weeks, behind only Josh Norman.

3. Ronald Darby, Buffalo Bills cornerback: Nine games into the season, Darby already owns the Bills' rookie record for passes defensed with 18. He deflected three Ryan Fitzpatrick passes while continuing his physical play opposite Stephon Gilmore.

4. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans quarterback: Mariota pulled off a spectacular 23-yard touchdown run in Thursday night's loss, but simply had no reliable help in the passing game beyond tight end Delanie Walker. "It was pretty productive there until the last play," interim coach Mike Mularkey said. "(Mariota) had a lot to do with that. He had a chance to win it. He is going to win a lot of those games."

5. Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills running back: Among backs with at least 50 carries, only Ryan Mathews is within a half-yard of Williams' league-leading 6.2 yards per carry.

6. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver: The list of wide receivers with more yards than Diggs over the past five weeks: Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Martavis Bryant, Alshon Jeffrey and Odell Beckham.

7. Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback: Peters has Peyton Manning's number. He has racked up a pair of interceptions, a touchdown and six passes defensed in two games versus the NFL legend this season.

8. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback: "I tell you what -- I've watched him a lot and been a fan of his. That kid is relentless," former Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. "When people count him out, he steps up to the plate. I think he has the same thing I had: You tell him what he can't do and he'll prove you wrong."

9. Leonard Williams, New York Jets defensive end: The Jets' coaching staff is pushing Williams to start getting more consistent pressure on opposing passers. Although he still played 58 of 65 snaps, Williams was removed from third-down packages versus the Bills last week.

10. Mario Edwards, Oakland Raiders defensive end: The draftniks got this one wrong when they declared Edwards a second-round reach. A monster versus the run in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, Edwards spent last Sunday afternoon chasing Teddy Bridgewater around the gridiron to the tune of four hurries, two QB hits and a sack. His two-game stretch is as impressive as any Leonard Williams has had this season.

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