The look at the 2012 New York Giants NFL Draft prospects continues with Miami (FL) tight end Chase Ford. Ford is a big kid at 6-6, 255 pounds and has excellent speed for a man his size. He only appeared in twenty-one games at Miami after transferring from Kilgore Community College so his experience level is behind that of other tight end prospects in this draft.
There isn’t much production at the FBS level as Ford only accrued a total of 16 catches over his two years at Miami for 184 yards and 2 TD’s. In 2009, his last year at Kilgore, he amassed 571 yards on 34 catches and 3 TD’s.
Ford is an intriguing prospect with long arms and massive hands. He has above average speed but takes a while to get to top speed. He runs excellent routes and has shown the ability to make the catch out of the air. Ford will not be an immediate contributor and will require quite a bit of coaching to refine his game.
Ford’s size and speed creates a mismatch with linebackers and safeties and he can become a threat after he makes the catch. He will need to work on almost every aspect of his game but Ford has been noted for his willingness to learn and his effort in practice. Right now, his game isn’t suited for an in-line option but he can add strength to his frame and can become an in-line option over time.
His blocking, like the rest of his game, is a work in progress. His footwork needs the most work as they tend to stop moving once contact is made and this creates a problem with his balance, especially against stronger defensive ends and linebackers. It might take a few years for Ford to develop into an in-line option who can contribute in the running game or staying in on passing plays.
With Ford’s size and speed he can become a threat in the red zone, presenting a large target for quarterback Eli Manning. He is strictly a developmental prospect who can eventually contribute in the passing game. With Martellus Bennett signed to a one-year deal, the Giants have their immediate needs at tight end addressed. However, the depth at the position is in question after Bennett and Bear Pascoe.
The Giants have Christian Hopkins, Ryan Purvis, and Larry Donnell on the roster but neither has the potential to be a number one tight end, though the Giants do like Hopkins. Travis Beckum may be ready for the start of the season after injuring his ACL in the Super Bowl but he could also be out for the season. Jake Ballard will miss the 2012 season after tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl as well and recently had microfracture surgery to help repair his knee. This is the second time Ballard has injured his ACL and his long-term contribution to the team is a question mark.
Moving forward, the Giants can actually afford to develop a tight end like Ford. Though it might not be the optimal situation for GM Jerry Reese, if there is a run on tight ends earlier in the draft, Ford could be a nice consolation prize in the later rounds as the Giants address other needs like those on the offensive line and at running back, the defensive line, and wide receiver.
Ford will be a high-risk, potentially high-reward player on the third day of the draft. It could be a year or two before he is a contributor on the field but if and when he does contribute he could create mismatch problems, especially if a linebacker or safety is trying to cover him.