Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rams sign Kendall Langford

The Rams have signed defensive lineman Kendall Langford to a 4-year, $24 million deal. Langford has mainly been a 3-4 defensive end; it's expected he'll take over Fred Robbins' role and kick inside to three-technique here. 6'6" and 300 pounds, Langford graded out as a top-5 3-4 DE in 2010 (Pro Football Focus). From 2008-2010, he graded out as the second-best tackling defensive lineman in the NFL, totalling 121 tackles while only missing one (PFF). He dropped off significantly statistically in 2011, seemingly because Miami used more hybrid approaches. Langford was still PFF's 24th-ranked free agent overall for 2012.

A quick statistical rundown for Langford:
2008 - 31 tackles, 2 sacks
2009 - 43 tackles, 2.5 sacks
2010 - 47 tackles, 3 sacks
2011 - 20 tackles, no sacks

Scouting report by Scouts Inc.:
Big, strong, athletic defensive end with decent athleticism who is best playing versus the run. He has improved his hand use and pad level to restrict running lanes. He has improved his ability to push the pocket as a pass-rusher but continues to struggle with his counter moves. He is a limited-area defender and doesn't show much range to the sideline.

Scouts Inc. grades Langford 75 out of 100, at the "good starter" level.

This deal has a certain amount of gamble to it. RamView didn't rank Langford highly because he's converting from 3-4 DE, which doesn't seem to work a whole lot, and because of his statistical dropoff last year. But Langford is young, a super tackler and is potentially a run-stopping force in the middle of the line for a franchise that traditionally lacks one. As much as the move can be considered a gamble, it looks like the Rams took a good one.

Reports indicate the Rams are also still pursuing Titans lineman Jason Jones. Hey, you've got to be strong up the middle in football. The Rams have been notoriously week there in recent years, but the new front office is taking strong strides in 2012 to remedy that.


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