With his contract settled and first weekend of mini-camp under his belt, the Chiefs top draft pick certainly has turned some heads. In making the true conversion from college defensive end to outside linebacker at the NFL level, we won't know how talented he might become until he dons his new red pads.
Ford is a football warrior. He also doesn't shy away from the internal drive and confidence you must have in order to become an elite pass rusher in the NFL. Over the weekend he grabbed jersey #55 to honor the late Derrick Thomas. The Auburn standout chose DT's college number at Alabama as a way to honor the Hall of Fame player.
That's some pretty big shoes to fill and though Ford will make his own name for himself at the NFL level, he already knows what's expected of him at this level.
When asked what he learned most this weekend he told reporters on Monday that getting up to speed on defense and flying around were his primary responsibilities.
But he also displayed a logical side that indicates his grasp of what's expected at the NFL level. In fact, it's pretty impressive that he's so grounded at this stage of his rookie development.
"At the end of the day, it's football and you get similar scenarios in the game," Ford told the media.
"It's all about really learning those coverages and really learning what you do, because in the NFL you can't make a mistake. It's not to say we have to be perfect, but you can't make mistakes. It's not much different, but it's more of an initiative to really know what you're doing and fit into the defense."
Fitting in will be the key in regards to the actual contributions that Ford can add to a defense that sorely needs a more consistent pass rush for 16 games not the eight they showed as a unit a year ago.
That's why Head Coach, Andy Reid, seems to believe that his new defensive toy can do just that. Talent is one thing, and Ford has it, but to learn the ropes and produce at the NFL level right away takes a special player.
"It looks like he's really spent a lot of time learning. It's a new position for him,' Reid said moving from defensive end to linebacker.
"I think he's done a great job of jumping in the books and learning the drops and the things that you need to do with the pass coverage. That's not an easy thing with all the combination things that we do. I'm happy with what he's done there."
This week, as OTA sessions continue for the Chiefs, Ford will get a chance to hang out with some of the veterans he'll go to war with this season. Having his first taste of camp out of the way, don't think for one minute that he's going to let up.
So what will he expect when this rookie gets his first taste with the big boys?
"Tomorrow will be a different world. I'm just really trying to adapt to each situation and just really learn," Ford said.
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Will Dee Ford make a quick jump to the NFL?
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