The NFL plays it’s own version of the Hunger Games on a yearly basis and the draft is nothing more than the selection process of who will “represent.” The only difference is the stakes are not “death” in the NFL but, the way some fans are responding to the choice of Dee Ford by the Chiefs, they might as well be.
As I’ve mentioned in many past posts, I’ve used Fanspeak’s mock draft generator so many times I can’t even count but I believe it’s in excess of 100 times. Yes, multiple times per day. That’s why they call this site… ArrowheadADDICTS. The point of pointing this out is that so many specifics became clear about this draft in the process and one of those specifics is, anyone drafting for the Chiefs would need to accomplish a set number of goals with the 6 picks they currently have.
The Goals? The Chiefs need to draft a player who can:
1. Put more pressure on the QB (front 7)
2. Cover opponents WRs better (DBs)
3. Run block and protect the QB better (OL)
4. Get open and catch the ball better (WR)
Now, it appears that Chiefs fans, and many media types alike, have been caught in the needs buzz kill cycle of WR-DB or DB-WR and the droning on and on about those two needs alone has blinded many to what Chiefs GM John Dorsey has outlined from the beginning. He said, and I paraphrase, anytime we can get someone who can rush the passer, that is a top priority.
Consequently, when Roger Goodell approached the podium on Friday evening and announced that the Chiefs would be selecting Dee Ford, it not only made perfect sense to me but, stated clearly what the Chiefs will be focusing on improving this coming season.
While watching Chiefs games during the 2013 season, how many times did you say to yourself, “We just can’t get to the quarterback” during the last half of the season? I know. A lot. Me tooooo.
It’s the chicken or the egg argument about which one comes first… does pressure make the coverage look tighter or does tighter coverage make the pressure look better?
Now that we know the Chiefs have chosen CB Phillip Gaines from Rice in round three, it’s obvious that the Chiefs aren’t waiting for the proverbial answer to that question. So, they’re covering both sides of that equation: more pressure and more coverage.
So often our response to a move that the new regime has made is done without considering that the move is one within a whole matrix of moves. The deletion of Tyson Jackson (from the payroll and the field) and the addition of Vance Walker, plus addition of Ford to the rush package of Pro Bowlers Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston creates a bevy of choices for defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to scheme with and forces an opposing QB to deal with an even greater number of problems.
Imagine all of them on the field together… Hali, Houston, Ford, Walker, Poe… and all of them capable of drawing a double team… and the QB never knowing who is going to drop in to coverage, or who is going to need that double-team, or come on a delay, or use a spin move to beat their man, or bull rush, or criss-cross with another D-lineman, or oops… all of a sudden it’s Eric Berry in your face.
I – CAN – NOT – WAIT… until the season starts to see how creative and destructive this defense can be to opposing backfields.
Plus, don’t you have to love a player who says, “I want to be a Chiefs forever?” That’s right, Dee Ford said that. And he meant it. Plus, he seriously believes he’s the best pass rusher in this draft.
I don’t believe Dee Ford was drafted to replace Tamba Hali. Not yet anyway. He was drafted to make this front seven… a seven from hell. Heaven, if you’re a Chiefs fan. Don’t forget, linebackers Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays are both also quite capable of pressuring the QB, which makes the scheme choices even more tasty and plentiful.
When Justin Houston came out of college, facing the same SEC teams that Dee Ford faced, he had 38 tackles for loss (TFLs) and 20 sacks. Dee Ford had 27.5 TFLs and 20.5 sacks. Similar ballpark.
Some have criticized the Ford selection saying he’s too small. Ford goes 6-2 and weighed in at the combine at 252. Houston is 6-3 and 258 so… one inch and 6 pounds separates them. Ford ran a 4.52, 40 yard dash at the combine and a 4.53 on his pro day tying him with Jadeveon Clowney. Ford also had a standing broad jump of 10’4” all of which means — Dee Ford is explosive.
Dee Ford is explosive… and he has the confidence to say so.
When asked on Sirius radio if he was better than Jadeveon Clowney he said, “I’m better” then repeating himself, “I’m better.” However, Ford didn’t stop there. Profootballtalk reports that Ford said,
“People are just looking at the fact that he’s a physical specimen,” Ford said. “It really don’t matter. Honestly, if you watch film, you know, it’s kind of like, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market, basically.
I play with a lot of technique. I watch a lot of film. These are the things that make you a great player, and these are the things that I do, and it shows up, know what I’m saying?
“This is all my opinion, you know what I’m saying? And you can see these things. You can see these things on film. Go watch the film. You know, it’s a lot of intangibles that you need to have to be a great player. You can’t just look at the fact that he’s a physical specimen. I think the NFL should have learned by that by now.”
Dee Ford makes a good and accurate point if you can get past all of the hoopla burned in the competitive fire. Ford plays with technique. Rob Rang of CBS Sports says of Ford,
“His pro day show included a 35 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot-4-inch broad jump, 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and a 40-yard time of 4.53 seconds. There is something special here. Ford is a vocal and physical leader who could pay the most consistent, long-term dividends of any defensive end in this draft — yes, including Jadeveon Clowney. He would be a steal after the middle of the first round, assuming his back in OK.”
Now, you can be sure John Dorsey and Andy Reid wouldn’t take Ford if his back was a mess. I’ve heard others compare Ford’s maladies to last year’s TE draftee Travis Kelce. That’s hardly applicable here because although he was hurt once during his college career he healed from that and then Kelce was hurt after he came to the Chiefs.
The Chiefs didn’t draft Dee Ford for depth alone. The Chiefs have a plan and Ford will be in the weekly attack plans this year. You will see him early and you will see him often and you will like what you see.
Phillip Gaines 4.3, 40 yard dash speed may be what gets him time at Free Safety. In the press conference following the pick John Dorsey spoke of Gaines confidence, could be tried as punt returner but, that ideally he’d be used as a corner. When questioned about Gaines problem with marijuana he said Gaines had made a mistake when he was younger, he’s matured since then, played the past two years as a team captain and hat he’s ready to play now and step into game action as a rookie. In any event, his six foot frame is the prototypical frame for a Dorsey defensive back and more importantly… the Chiefs just got better. Like Ford, you will see him early and often too.
And… you will be satiated. I know I am already.