Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) is tackled by Auburn Tigers defensive end Dee Ford (30) during the first half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Draft Prospect Dee Ford: Good But Not Elite

This week, I’m going to be looking at Dee Ford from Auburn. He is a defensive end/outside linebacker, so he’s a bit of a tweener. Immediately, this makes me wonder if he’ll be a good fit on the Dallas Cowboys. Does he have the size to be a defensive end in our scheme? At 6-2, 252 lb, Ford is a bit undersized. However, when you watch his game tape, he can play some good football. I see a good prospect that will translate to a great NFL player, but I don’t see him being elite.

The biggest limitation for him is his size. I think he’d make a great 3-4 OLB, but I don’t know how I’d feel with him at defensive end. I don’t think he has the strength to be an elite edge rusher. However, don’t underestimate him. He has enough strength to be an acceptable starter in the league.  Another concern I have is that he played mostly on the left side of the defense. So he often faced off against the right tackle. This mean he doesn’t face off against the best pass blocker.

As a pass rusher, his greatest asset is his agility. Ford is a quick defender who has a good burst off the line of scrimmage. He does need to work on timing this out though. Ford has an amazing speed rush. Quarterbacks are forced to step up in the pocket, because he can get pressure off of the edge. Ford has shown great football intelligence. He is a very disciplined player which will be useful when facing dual threat quarterbacks. He also possesses an incredible motor. He will relentlessly attack quarterbacks, which is a trait that is never bad.

One thing I’m concerned about is Ford’s lack of variety in his pass rushing. He does the speed rush very well, but I haven’t seen many other methods to sack the quarterback. In run stopping, Ford is average. He’s not going to wow you and hold the point of attack. He can get off defenders using his agility and quickness, but he is often out of position to actually make a play.

The biggest concern for Ford is if he can fit the Cowboys defensive scheme. He might be a bit too small, but he can certainly get pressure on the quarterback. Ford has shown a lot of great tools to be a good player in the NFL, but he lacks the strength to be an elite defender. Nonetheless, Ford can be a great piece to have on the team. He has great tools that can help him succeed in the NFL. I see Ford having a good but not amazing career in the NFL.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Dallas Cowboys Dee Ford Draft

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