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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