By Dan Durkin--
(CBS) With running back Matt Forte heading into the final year of his contract and Ka'Deem Carey being a holdover from the Phil Emery regime, the Bears selected Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford in the fourth round of the NFL draft (106th overall) on Saturday.
Langford arrived in East Lansing as a highly accomplished running back and strong safety recruit from John Glenn High School in Westland, Michigan. In his true freshman season in 2010, he redshirted. In 2011, he appeared in all 14 of the teams games, playing cornerback and special teams. In 2012, he continued to contribute on special teams but did see action at running back against Central Michigan.
In 2013, Langford was tried out at wide receiver during spring practices before returning to his natural position of running back. He then led the Spartans in rushing yards (1,422), carries (292), total touchdowns (19), rushing touchdowns (18), scoring (114 points) and all-purpose yards (1,579) in 14 games. In 2014, he finished with 1,522 rushing yards, 22 rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
In total, Langford played 28 games at tailback (27 starts) and finished with 2,967 rushing yards, 40 rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He finished his career with 16 straight 100-yard rushing games against Big Ten opponents and a school-record with 10 consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
Langford's 4.42-second 40-yard time was the fastest among running backs, as were his 10-yard (1.5) and 20-yard (2.5) splits. While his timed speed doesn't always show up on film, he's a patient, one-cut runner ideally suited for a zone-based running scheme, which Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase runs.
At 6-foot, 208 pounds, Langford has a strong lower body and the ability to break tackles. He runs with vision and follows his blockers and will adjust the aiming point as needed. He doesn't lose speed when making cuts laterally and presses the line of scrimmage when he sees daylight. He's very effective around the goal line and in short-yardage situations.
Considering the Spartan coaching staff tried him at receiver, Langford is very effective in the screen game as well. He's also willing and physical in blitz pickup on passing downs in which he's part of the protection count.
Langford will be ideally suited in a rotation, which is something Bears coach John Fox has done throughout his career. Langford has a tendency to run a bit upright in the open field, which gives opponents a bigger striking surface. He also needs a few steps to get up to full speed. He should immediately step into the rotation at running back and will be a useful piece on special teams coverage units.
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.
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