Rookie review: LB Dee Ford

Today we’re starting a series looking at the six 2014 draft picks of the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll look at how they fared in offseason practice and what the Chiefs can reasonably expect from them as rookies.

First round: OLB Dee Ford

Offseason: The Chiefs were quietly encouraged with what they saw in Ford. He showed that quick first step that many of the great pass-rushers have. He also showed the ability to fight off blocks with his upper body while continuing to make progress toward the quarterback. Though one of the starters at his position, Justin Houston, stayed away from offseason practice, Ford didn’t get a lot of snaps with the starting base defense. Houston was instead replaced by veteran Frank Zombo. But Ford was a regular in passing situations.

Expectations: Ford is learning a new position. He was a defensive end in college at Auburn, so it could take him a while to master the nuances of his new position. Even if Houston continues his holdout into the season, it might be much to expect Ford to assume his spot in the regular defense anytime soon. But Zombo can handle that. Ford should be a major component in the rush in passing situations.

Quote: “I’m learning maturity. The pass rush is all about mentality [more than] just straight pass rush because at some point they’re going to figure out what you can and can’t do. So it’s all about changing it up and deception. We talk about deception all of the time. We want to deceive the offense. It’s just another level of mental training that I’m learning from Tamba [Hali].” – Ford.