Spartans' Langford could rush into Bears running back picture
On the final day of the draft, the Bears added depth / insurance at running back, the obligatory safety and an offensive lineman so massive he can block out the sun.
Incumbent running back Matt Forte says he won't hold out for a contract extension, even though he skipped last week's voluntary minicamp. But the Bears used their fourth-round pick on a running back anyway.
Michigan State's Jeremy Langford had more than 600 touches while starting all 26 games for the Spartans over the past two seasons, and he was the fastest running back at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 6-foot, 208-pounder rushed for 2,944 yards (5.2-yard average) and 40 touchdowns on 568 carries in his last two years in East Lansing. He added 39 receptions for 219 yards (5.6-yard average).
"Very productive and athletic," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. "The standout trait with him is really his speed. This guy has home-run ability and we feel he has a lot of upside."
The Bears also used their fourth-round pick on a running back last year, when they selected Arizona's bellcow Ka'Deem Carey. As a rookie, Carey saw limited duty, rushing for 158 yards on 36 carries, a 4.4-yard average, and he caught 5 passes for 57 yards (11.4-yard average).
Even though Langford was a workhorse for the Spartans, he may not have enough size to be an every-down back in the NFL. But he could be an ideal complementary, change-of-pace back, and he has the speed to stress a defense as a runner or receiver. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine that included a 1.50-second 10-yard split and a 2.50 20-yard split, all three of which tied for the best marks at the combine.
In Round 5, the Bears added Penn State safety Adrian Amos, the 11th time they've addressed that position since 2005. But only one of those players remains on the roster, last year's fourth-round pick Brock Vereen.
"He's a versatile player," Pace said about Amos. "He's played corner, he's played nickel, he's played safety so we like the coverage versatility that he brings. A high-character guy that's extremely intelligent."
In Round 6, with their final pick of the day, the Bears tabbed TCU's massive offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje, a 6-foot-6, 353-pound road-grader. The Nigerian native dropped out of school at one point to support his older sister after his father was deported and his mother incarcerated.
His story resonated with the Bears.
"Players that have fought through adversity," Pace said, "I think that means something."
While Fabuluje is a project, Amos could figure soon in the Bears' ever-changing safety situation. At 6-1 and 218 pounds, he has a nice size-speed combo considering his 4.49 40-time. He has above-average range and ball skills so he figures to remain at free safety, but he is not considered a good tackler or a physical player who will sell out to help defend the run.
Veteran free-agent addition Antrel Rolle is expected to be the Bears' starter this season at free safety, but he is 32, so Amos could be groomed to succeed him. Incumbent Ryan Mundy is penciled in as the starter at strong safety. Vereen played in all 16 games last season and started four times but did not distinguish himself, although he remains in the mix.
As a Baltimore native whose father is a police officer, Amos has a unique outlook on the racial unrest in his hometown.
"He was down there in the middle of it during the riots," Amos said of his dad. "I just want there to be justice, and for everybody to come together and build Baltimore up instead of tearing it down.
"I feel that some bad things happened. But I feel like a lot of good is going to come out of it. If anything, it opened a lot of people's eyes. I want it to be smooth so people can respect the police and the police respect all people."
• The Bears will welcome a contingent of undrafted players to next weekend's rookie minicamp to join their six draft picks.
While the Bears were still finalizing the details and had not made any announcements by late Saturday night, East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden, a three-year starter, tweeted that he had signed.
He is expected to be joined by East Central defensive back Qumain Black, Arkansas offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson, Baylor wide receiver Levi Norwood, Old Dominion long-snapper Rick Lovato, Toldeo kicker Jeremiah Detmer, Coastal Carolina offensive lineman Chad Hamilton and UCLA safety Anthony Jefferson.
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