The Eagles need to upgrade their defense with a talented pass rusher. While Connor Barwin and Trent Cole have been able to get to the quarterback on occasion, consistency will be the key to improving the entire defense. May's draft features a handful of talented pass rushers and the Eagles could choose to address the need early in the selection process. Auburn's Dee Ford is one of the top pass rushers in the draft and could be an interesting addition to Philadelphia's roster.
A talented high school player, who had 18 sacks as a senior, Ford committed to Auburn in 2009. He appeared in 13 games as a true freshmen and produced 12 tackles, one sack and an interception. Ford appeared in 13 games (one start) as a sophomore and totaled 11 tackles and two sacks.
His true junior season ended after three games due to a back injury. In those three contests, Ford had seven tackles (two for loss) and one sack. He got a medical redshirt for the his short year in 2010. In 2011, Ford became a starter at defensive end and produced 30 tackles and six sacks.
As a redshirt senior, Ford had 29 tackles (14.5 for a loss) and 10.5 sacks. He was second in the SEC in sacks per game (0.9) and was named to the All-SEC first team, despite missing the first two games of season because of a knee sprain.
Ford was invited to the Senior Bowl, where he won MVP of the game and had two tackles, two sacks and pass breakup. Unfortunately, the strict doctors at the Combine held Ford out from performing in drills due to his preexisting back injury.
Pro Day Numbers
These are a mix up the measurements made during the Combine and the drills that took place at Auburn's Pro Day on March 4th.
Weight: 252 lbs
Arm Length: 32 7/8"
Hands: 10 1/4"
40: 4.53 seconds
Bench: 29 reps
Broad Jump: 124 inches
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
3 Cone: 6.8 seconds
Ford is extremely quick off the line and can be dominant with his speed. He can rush the passer in both two-and three-point stances and seems to prefer standing up. He is lanky and long and uses his size well. His speed makes him dangerous against slower tackles and he can get in the middle of guards and tackles with stunts. He was huge in the biggest game of his career against FSU in the BSC National Championship. He is absolutely relentless and wraps up well.
He draws holds frequently and can get to the quarterback even when it is not called. He is an athlete that can add weight to his frame and he is scheme versatile.
Ford is still a bit raw when it comes to pass rushing technique. He relies heavily on speed and for the most part, seems to only use his quickness to get around tackles. He was run at a lot in college and the results were mixed. Adding weight should help against the run, but on tape he looks like he struggles avoid blocks downfield.
At 6-foot-2, he is likely a bit shorter than most coaches would want at outside linebacker. He also played left end in college, which means that he typically went against the second best tackle on the team as oppose to the top guy. He has little experience in space and in coverage.
Despite his monster numbers and high profile, Ford will likely be selected in the No. 20-35 range. He is an impressive player but does have obvious flaws in his game at this point. The Eagles really need a pass rushing specialist to spell Cole on third downs during this season and Ford could fit that bill. Depending on who is available with him at No. 22, the Eagles could easily bounce on Ford. It all really depends on how the board shacks for Philadelphia.