One of the biggest positions of need for the Indianapolis Colts entering the offseason was the defensive line. And all they have done so far in free agency is add one notable free agent and let another walk, so that one player they added should hopefully have a big impact.
That player, of course, is Kendall Langford. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 2008 season and spent the first four seasons of his career in Miami, starting 54 games and playing in 64. He then signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2012, spending the next three seasons in St. Louis, starting 36 games and playing in 48 games. In his seven-year career, he has never missed a single game - playing in all 112 (and starting 90). He has recorded 242 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 15 passes defensed, and four fumbles, being at his best against the run.
With that last statement, it's easy to see why the Colts signed Kendall Langford. They have been completely embarrassed on the ground by the Patriots in each of the last three meetings between the teams, and Chuck Pagano himself called the run defense the team's "Achilles heel" at the owner's meetings last week. It is very clear that, as the Colts aggressively pursue a Super Bowl in 2015, they have a particular emphasis on improving the run defense, adding both Langford and inside linebacker Nate Irving - two players who are at their best against the run. It's also noticeable when looking at Langford versus the player that he's replacing in Cory Redding. The veteran Redding, who spent the last three years with the Colts, was at his best in pass rush, and while I still think the Colts should have brought him back, they replaced him with a run defender in Langford.
But let's not mistake this, either: Langford can hold his own in pass rush, particularly in a 3-4 defense. He's better in that system, which is what the Colts run, and so that should help him to play better as well. Simply put, this was definitely a good signing for the Colts, as Langford should really help them along the defensive line.
The big question comes here: how much better did the Colts get as a team? Langford is a good player and was a good move by the Colts, but Cory Redding is a good player too. How much better is the Colts' defensive line by replacing Redding with Langford? That's a question that can really only be answered on the field this fall, but right now, it doesn't look like it's greatly improved - at least not improved enough to make enough of a difference against the Patriots' rushing attack.
We can't judge the offseason in its entirety yet, but so far, I'm not sure how improved the Colts' defensive line actually is. But one thing should be pretty clear: signing Kendall Langford was a good move to bring in a good, reliable player.
Quick Summary: Kendall Langford:
Weight: 313 pounds
Age: 28 years old
Years Pro: Spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2008-2011) and three seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2012-2013)
Drafted: Selected in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Miami Dolphins
Stats: Played in 112 games (90 starts) in six year career, having yet to miss a single game; has recorded 242 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 15 passes defensed, and 4 forced fumbles
Contract: 4-year, $17.2 million with $2.5 million guaranteed, $4.25 million cap hit in 2015 (per Spotrac)