As we close in on the 2021 NFL Draft later in the week, most of the attention will be paid to frontline players who will be taken in the first couple of rounds. It used to be a big deal when a player projected in the top 10 fell way later, and showing that disappointed college star in the green room made for compelling television.
There are also players like University of Pittsburgh safety Paris Ford who have a very wide range of outcomes with respect to where he could be drafted. Let’s take a closer look at Ford’s skill set as he prepares to start his career in the NFL.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Paris Ford’s NFL Draft Profile
--Weight: 190 pounds
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Paris Ford’s Strengths
Sometimes players in the front seven have animosity towards their teammates in the secondary who aren’t willing to mix it up and play physically on each and every play. Paris Ford is not one of those players who is afraid to make a tackle, however. He’s most comfortable joining linebackers in the box and making quick reads to find an efficient way to get to the running back. Despite Ford’s relative lack of size at 190 pounds, he still has a solid ability to hit offensive players with force and make slot receivers think twice about their route.
While certain teams will view Ford as a safety from Day 1, others might not be willing to slot him into a competition right when training camp begins. While that might be viewed as a negative for some players, it might end up being a good thing for Ford. Because of his willingness to pursue the play on a downhill basis, teams might also find him to be a viable option on special teams as well. Whether he plays many snaps on defense in his rookie season is anyone’s guess, but Ford should be able to carve out a niche in at least one phase of the game.
Also Read: How to watch NFL Draft 2021
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Paris Ford’s Weaknesses
Even though Ford’s skill set as a box safety can be viewed as a positive, his ability to keep plays in front of him in the passing game is a big question. He took quite a few chances while playing in college, and some of those unsuccessful risks led to big plays down the field. If he’s forced into a coverage role, Ford could struggle to keep up with speedsters who give him an initial move to fake him out.
Additionally, Ford’s inclination to try and make game-changing plays sometimes left him in bad positions. He had some latitude at Pittsburgh to freelance in order to line up where he thought he’d be most effective. However, Ford didn’t always stick with his pre-snap assignment, which sometimes put other teammates in a bind. He’s going to need to develop a much better feel at the next level, since opposing offenses will try to take advantage of his uber-aggressive ways.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Paris Ford’s career at Pittsburgh
Ford’s sophomore season with the Pittsburgh Panthers was by far the standout one in his college career. He played 12 games that year, and logged 90 tackles. Not only that, Ford had a nice season in coverage as well, picking off three passes while tallying nine passes defended. If that wasn’t enough, Ford also forced three fumbles in that campaign.
However, his other two seasons in college were ordinary. In his freshman year, Ford didn’t really see much of the field, as he played in just 4 games. Ford was decent in his junior season last year, but did not come close to replicating his special 2019 campaign. He only recorded 1 pass defended and 41 tackles, which was a steep decline from his 2018 sophomore season.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Paris Ford’s career defensive stats
--Combined Tackles: 136
--Passes Defended: 10
Also Read: Complete 2020 NFL Draft Results