After being out of the NFL for a year, receiver Jacoby Ford found a new home this offseason with the Tennessee Titans. The former Raiders return man and receiving deep threat saw his numbers drop every year from 2010-2013, and ultimately found himself looking for work last season.
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But a spot with the Titans might be positioning Ford to have the best season of his career in 2015. It’s crowded on thereceiving depth chart, with the likes of Kendall Wright, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Hunter, Harry Douglas, Dorial Green-Beckham and Tre McBride all fighting for snaps. But in the right situation, the surplus of receiving talent could ultimately bode in Ford’s favor if he first manages to make the final roster.
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Despite his track-star speed, Ford won’t ever be a number-one receiver. He probably won’t even be a number-two. But putting his speed up against third- and fourth-string corners with Wright, Green-Beckham and the rest of the receiving core stealing the attention of the most talented defensive backs of a given opponent could make Ford a lethal secret weapon.
With Dexter McCluster already in the fold as a hybrid running back/receiver, working him and Ford into some plays together could also give the Titans’ offense a new dimension. Ford has shown at times that he’s a capable surprise runner, averaging 10.6 yards per attempt for his career. Get creative and throw him on the field with McCluster in some trick plays, and it could help both players become more effective.
The Titans also lack a true kick/punt returner, which leaves another avenue for Ford to thrive. He led the league in kick-return touchdowns as a rookie in 2010 with three, and also brought one back in 2011. McCluster and Perrish Cox among others will likely see some time trying returns, but Ford could very well be the guy who steps in with Leon Washington now gone.
It’s been a weird road for Ford, who was once looked at as potentially one of the league’s top deep threats. He may be looked at as disposable now, but if used properly, he could also very well become one of the top out-of-nowhere contributors in 2015.
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