NFL Free Agency: St. Louis Rams Make an Odd Signing with Kendall Langford

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2012

MIAMI, FL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Kendall Langford of the Miami Dolphins poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The St. Louis Rams have signed free agent defensive lineman Kendall Langford, according to Langford's Twitter account:

"Now it's time to start a new chapter in my life here wit the St. Louis Rams and I'm pretty excited about it!"

Langford's deal is for four years and $24 million, with $12 million guaranteed. He is the second defensive free agent that the Rams have added to their defense so far this free agency after bringing in cornerback Cortland Finnegan to a huge deal from the Tennessee Titans.

How Langford fits with the Rams isn't immediately clear, as he played in a different scheme with the Miami Dolphins in recent years.

Langford is a very talented 3-4 defensive end who is a perfect fit to play that position. Curiously, he has signed with a team that has played a 4-3 defense over the past few seasons. However, with Gregg Williams as the team's coach, the scheme of the defense going forward is unclear.

Williams isn't scared to use multiple fronts, but if the Rams are to do that, they will need to add multiple more pieces to their roster.

Presuming that St. Louis will stick with a 4-3 defense, Langford will be asked to play defensive tackle. At roughly 295 lbs. and 6'6", Langford's body type isn't exactly perfect to be a 4-3 tackle. He isn't big enough to dominate the running game by consuming a guard and a tackle, while he also may not be athletic enough to penetrate consistently as a rusher.

Throughout his career, albeit in another position, Langford had 7.5 sacks in his first three seasons and zero last year. 7.5sacks as 3-4 end is plenty over three seasons, but most worryingly for the Rams, last year, when he had no sacks, Langford moved inside in a 4-3 defense as the Dolphins began to run multiple formations.

With Paul Soliai also in Miami last year, Langford, along with Jared Odrick, would have been the two defenders asked to rush the passer from the inside.

While the Rams may be looking for more of a run-stuffing presence to replace Fred Robbins, Langford isn't going to be a Pat Williams-type of defensive tackle—he is simply not built that way.

His versatility is likely the reason Jeff Fisher and Les Snead saw it fit to sign him, but it is an odd move unless there are plenty more to follow.

It would have made a lot more sense if Langford had found a new home with a 3-4 team such as the Green Bay Packers, who also were pursuing him.