Former Auburn Tigers defensive end Dee Ford didn’t generate too much buzz as a draft prospect, and a great day of edge rushing in the National Championship didn’t even create significant national attention for the speedy, dangerous DE. However, Ford is now in the first-round discussion after a monster Senior Bowl, in which he dominated in practices and was even more impressive during the game itself. With two sacks, Ford earned Senior Bowl MVP honors, and he’s widely seen as the third-best 4-3 DE in the class behind Jadeveon Clowney and Missouri’s Kony Ealy.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick tweeted yesterday that he is “hearing” that Ford has excellent character, and it’s not surprising to hear that a prospect touted for his work ethic is receiving “plus” marks for his character. This tweet is significant, because it’s a sign that Ford’s draft stock will rise several notches due to the positive view of his character. The Combine is a huge chance for a prospect like Ford to shine, and I would be surprised if he didn’t end up in the first round. There’s a good chance he ends up being a mid first-round pick, but a team like the Philadelphia Eagles or Denver Broncos will hope that he can fall outside of the top 20.
Ford’s ability to defend the run could end up deciding how he compares to a guy like Ealy, but there is no doubt that his quickness, explosiveness on the edge, and ability to disrupt the passer make him worth a first. There’s a chance he could get picked in the top 20, but that remains to be seen.
He recorded a whopping 14.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 17 QB hurries, and forced two fumbles last season.