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Jeremy Langford, the senior running back from the Michigan State Spartans, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a productive career that included 27 straight starts at the position. In 2014, Langford ran the ball 276 times for 1,522 yards and 22 TDs (5.5 ypc). He added 11 receptions for 62 yards and was acknowledged as an Honorable Mention All-Conference performer. In 2013, Langford totaled 292 carries for 1,422 yards and 18 TDs (4.9 ypc) as well as 28 receptions for 157 yards and a score. His 40 TDs over a two-year span ranks as the most in school history. For his career, Langford had 577 carries, 2,967 yards and 40 TDs (5.1 ypc). He finished eighth on the school’s all-time rushing list and second on the list for career rushing TDs. Physically, Langford meets the position’s NFL requirements at 6’0” tall and 208 lbs. He ran an impressive 4.42 40-yard dash at the 2015 Scouting Combine, but his field speed isn’t quite as explosive; He’s not the kind of runner who will win a lot of foot races to the end zone. Langford’s experience is a plus, as he plays with the natural feel of a guy who has carried the ball quite a bit. On inside running plays, Langford makes the most out of each rep, lowering his shoulders and taking the yards that are available to him. He runs with sound pad level and is a balanced guy who has just enough power to break arm tackles. At times, Langford tends to just drive forward with his head down, sacrificing a cut-back opportunity or “bigger play,” but he’s constantly moving forward. He’s patient on outside running plays, allowing his linemen to reach their target before making a decisive move upfield. While he doesn’t have the long field speed to hit the home run, he certainly has enough spring in his legs to turn the corner. Langford isn’t a real talented wiggle guy, and he’s not going to be the kind of runner who jukes the defender all that often. He labors at times to make sharp cutbacks and is more of a north/south back. As a receiver, Langford displayed some natural pass-catching ability even though he wasn’t a high-volume target. He’s a willing and competent blocker who is entering the NFL with the necessary skill-set to play on third downs.
BOTTOM LINE: Jeremy Langford is a good running back, but he lacks any truly special or elite quality to suggest he’ll be a highly valued commodity on draft day. He’s the kind of prospect that teams will value as a durable depth guy with the upside of contributing in a RBBC setting. His ideal fit is with a team that incorporates a ZBS, as he’s at his best as a one-cut back. Langford is a really nice day-3 value as a top-tier backup running back and sub-package player.
GRADE: 6.5 (4th round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)