Dee Ford Is A Relentless Force
The Kansas City Chiefs are poised and ready to make a strong push to win the AFC West and make the playoffs and their chances are high as a possibility to reach the Super Bowl in 2018. The Chiefs electrifying offense and bend but don’t break defense proves legit at 9-2. The Chiefs All-Pro linebacker Dee Ford falls into a different category on a Chiefs defense looking for toughness and consistency. The relentless play of Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford is not by accident. It’s an art.
Ford is a beast at 6’2″, 252 lbs. and joins a long line of legendary Chiefs linebackers, from Willie Lanier, Derrick Thomas, Tamba Hali and Neil Smith. Make no mistake Ford is one of the most athletic and physical linebackers in the NFL. He is one of the few edge rushers who master leveraging his weight, strength and burst to overpower opposing offensive linemen. His pressuring and terrorizing quarterbacks in the pocket are commonplace. Ford’s size, quickness, and ability to gain the first step and shed offensive tackles bring him in close comparison to Derrick Thomas.
Ford chose Derrick Thomas college number 55 in honor of the Chiefs all-time great linebacker.
The Piano Man Always Making Big Plays
Donald “Dee” Ford was a standout high school hybrid defensive end weakside linebacker. He attended St. Claire County High school in Odenville, Alabama. Ford was a three-star athlete recruited by at least four Division I college football programs, such as Mississippi State to Auburn. Ford racked up 90 tackles, including 38 tackles for loss and 18 sacks. As a junior, he posted 87 total tackles with 16 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks.
What is unique about Ford, as he progressed from a three-star high school LB to DE at Auburn is he joins first rounders LB Aundray Bruce (1988) and Takeo Spikes (1998). While at Auburn from 2009 to 2012, Ford racked up 60 solo tackles with 33 assists for a total of 93 with 27.5 for a loss. Add in three forced fumbles and two passes defended for one interception.
Dee Ford is a man of many talents with one being his ability to play the piano well. He took piano lessons, learning along the way with his family’s gospel church musical roots. According to Ford, he was in his high school Jazz band and aspired to earn a music scholarship before he received a full athletic ride at Auburn.
Wreaking Havoc As An Edge Rusher And Run Stopper
The Chiefs drafted Dee Ford with the 23rd pick in 2014. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and then GM John Dorsey chose to select the versatile DE/LB, even though experts questioned his size and durability to play both positions. Also, the Chiefs already had two excellent LBs on the roster with Hali and Justin Houston.
Reid had youth in mind with this selection and Hali was the odd man out, due to injury and diminished performance. Ford entered Chiefs training camp in 2014, with a chip on his shoulder. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton devised many hybrid coverage schemes around the talents on his defense.
The disguised alignments allowed Ford the opportunity to entrench and go after the QB. Ford could rush from a three-point stance or standing up. As a run defender, Ford is not amongst the league’s top rushers as a run defender ranking 21st among 47 qualifiers with a run-defense (69.7) grade. When he needed to defend the run, Ford stepped up with a total 27 solo tackles and five assists.
The Numbers Always Speak Volumes
During week 8, Ford was the best edge defender in the NFL through Week 8. The former Auburn star 90.5 overall grade and 91.9 pass-rush grade lead all players with 200 extra defensive snaps along the edge this season.
Ford is only five tackles and 1.5 sacks away from Denver Broncos top all-star edge rusher Von Miller for 2018. Ford has a combined thirty-two solo and assisted tackles, nine sacks, and five forced fumbles. Miller has thirty-seven combined solo and assists tackles, 10.5 sacks, and one interception.
The comparison with Miller and Ford are statistical since both players bring an essential dynamic to their teams. Ford plays the game with high-level intensity and is consistent helping his team win football games.
Dee Ford will continue to play an important defensive role for the Chiefs heading into the playoffs.