December 1, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers guard Joe Looney (78) blocks against St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford (98) during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Rams 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Is Rams Defensive Tackle Kendall Langford Underrated?


Oct 20, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford (98) on the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 20, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford (98) on the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason the Rams don’t have a whole lot of room to work with when it comes to the salary cap. Luckily for them however, is that the salary cap has gone up, giving the Rams a little bit of breathing room

That still doesn’t mean that the Rams won’t be making any cuts so that they can sign some players in free agency as well as re-sign some of their own players.

Names like guard Harvey Dahl, center Scott Wells, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan come to mind as guys that could get cut. One unpopular name that has come up in that conversation is defensive tackle Kendall Langford.

Some fans are suggesting that the Rams cut Langford to save the $4 million in cap space and then draft a guy that Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald or Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman. That may have made sense a month ago when the Rams were right up against the cap, but with the additional breathing room they have received, it makes little to no sense right now.

Langford has done nothing but good things since he has been in St. Louis and some are saying that fans are taking Langford for granted and believe that he could be one of the most underrated guys on the team.

Langford came to St. Louis in 2012 to help the Rams run defense as they were second to last in the league in defending against the run the year before. With the addition of head coach Jeff Fisher as well as defensive tackle Michael Brockers and Langford, the Rams went for the 31st ranked run defense to 15th.

Langford got off to a slow start in 2012 making the transition from a 3-4 defense to the Rams’ 4-3, but towards the end of the season he started to get more comfortable recording two sacks in the final five games and tying his season high in tackles.

In 2013, Langford picked up where he left off and actually recorded a career high in tackles with eight in week six against the Texans. As a season total, Langford  recorded career highs in total tackles, sacks, passes defended, stuffs, and stuff yards.

You could even argue that Langford was the Rams’ best defensive tackle. On Pro Football Focus, Langford recorded a better rating than Brockers in overall, pass rush, and run defense. Not only that, but Langford had more quarterback hurries, batted passes, tackles, assists, and stops than Brockers.

Langford is by far on of the most underrated players on the Rams’ roster, if not the most underrated. For the Rams to cut a guy that is producing and earning his contract and replace him with a guy that has yet to prove himself in the league, doest make a lot of sense.

If the Rams were to wait until the later rounds to draft a defensive tackle and then let him develop behind Langford until his contract is up in 2016 that would be fine, cutting Langford would not.

The Rams already have one of the best front four’s in football, at this point there is no reason to change that. The Rams have come a long way since having one of the worst run defenses in football and one of the main reasons for that, was the addition of Kendall Langford.

 

 

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  • Beer O’Clock

    Having Donald, Langford and Brockers rotating along with DEs Hayes, Long and Quinn would give Fisher/Williams the most dynamic, flexible and hardest to contain defensive line in football. What Donald brings to the table is a defensive lineman that, once the offensive line has gone into pass protection, can contain fast QBs like RG3, Kaepernick, Manziel, and Wilson. With two players in the front 7 field capable of containment (Ogletree and Donald), it would be much easier to mask their defensive schemes and blitzes without sacrificing containment.

  • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

    Gregg Williams prefer his DT’s to be bigger and can both stop the run and rush the passer. Between Donald and Hageman, Hageman fits more with the Rams and has more upside. Hageman is a freak of an athlete at 6’6″ 300lbs+ If the Rams decided to trade down, Hageman should be their target at one of the late 1st round picks (before the Pats and 49ers).

    • Beer O’Clock

      They already have that. His name is Kendall Langford. Other than strength (Hageman is stronger), and technique (Langford has better technique), the two are remarkably similar. Langford is 6’6 313lbs, ran a 4.95 40, 7.72 3-cone; Hageman is 6’6 318lbs ran a 5.02 40, 7.87 3-cone.

      My point on Donald is it gives the Rams an extra dimension (keeping Langford) that would be a huge plus when playing Seattle and SF (as well as other teams with fast, mobile QBs)

      Donald has proven both in his tape and at the Senior Bowl that he is very good at stopping the run, as well as being a tremendous pass rusher. He may be five inches shorter, but he’s stronger (as well as much faster) than Langford, Brockers or Hageman.

      • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

        Donald might get over powered by Mauling OG’s like Chance Warmack. And Gregg Williams prefers bigger and taller DT. Langford might be polished but pricey (who will become a FA at the end of 2014) and if the Rams can draft a DT with the same dimension that has more upside and comes at a much cheaper rate, I’d go Hageman. Beside Aaron Donald won’t get passed by either Dallas or Chicago.

        • Beer O’Clock

          Your argument shows your lack of football knowledge. Donald overpowered Cyril Richardson several times in the Senior Bowl week (ran past him most the other times). Richardson is 17-lbs heavier than Warmack and is considered the prototype mauling OG prospect.

          I agree Williams prefers bigger and taller DTs. But, there’s a reason Geno Atkins is considered the best DT in football by most experts–he dominates. Donald is almost exactly the same size and weight as Atkins when he left college. Other than Donald being faster and quicker, every other measurable at their respective combines were near identical. Donald won Outland Trophy,the Lombardi Award, the Nagurski Award and the Bedarski award–virtually every major award for best lineman, playing in the Big 10, known for their mauling OGs.

          Your argument is in terms of what you think the Rams will do, mine is in terms of what I think will be the most successful for the team (not necessarily what they will do). I like the versatility and speed he brings to an already excellent defensive line, especially in light of the fact they play in the NFC West. Let’s just agree to disagree–we’ll never see eye-to-eye on this.

          BTW–the Rams pick at #13 is ahead of both Chicago #14 and Dallas #16. If your point was that the Rams can’t trade down and still get Donald, you’re right. There is no way he falls past Dallas at #16 and most likely won’t fall past Chicago at #14.

          • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

            You correct on all aspect Sir. But There are still “possibility” of Langford getting cut for salary cap purposes and I’m alluding the Rams would draft either Hageman, Stephon Tuitt, DaQuan Jones, Ego Ferguson or Anthony Johnson.

  • MichaelNupe Thompson

    Langford is by no means underrated. I guess i have to go recheck stats because at the end of the season brokers was still leading Langford in tackles and sacks at least. I admit Langford did show improvement in his second season which is why I’m against him being cut for now. But he’s not with the 6 million he’s going to make. I do think he should take a pay cut and we should get another DT for rotational purposes.

    • Allen Day

      Defensive tackles are not guys you can grade from the stat sheet. Their main job is to close running gaps hint the Rams runD dramatically changed with The addition of Langford

      • MichaelNupe Thompson

        I wouldn’t say dramatically. There still a number of games where we got killed on the run. Yes our run D got better. But he’s not underrated. He’s a player I want and can see the rams keeping. But he’s not worth the 6 mill plus he’s about to receive. And it’s more than just clogging up run lanes. DT is the first line of defense. They are suppose to stop the run along with other duties. When DT is talked about, their tackle, sack, tackle for loss, qb pressures, and QB hits are talked about. Not how many times they clog the lanes. Yes you want a lane clogging DT but what’s the worth if they’re not maximizing and getting tackles and sacks.

  • Gary Stewart

    keep langford replace dunbar with a sideline to sidelin lb like shazier who also is good against the run and save the DT pick. williams is good at what he does and like the best coaches figures out how to make it work. if they give him hageman donald or stick with langford the rams will improve on defense if they add dix at safety and a fast lb with run stopping capabilities the rams defense will be elite. so while langford is the most costly on paper having the extra pick to use elsewhere may prove even more invaluable.

  • Allen Day

    Agree Langford was easily the 2nd best dlinemen for the Rams in 2013. The guy was unblockable at times. I bet the thought of cutting him hasn’t came across the Rams mind. Hell he maybe getting paid less then he should