The Philadelphia Eagles are desperate for a pass-rusher in this upcoming NFL Draft. They have lacked a serious outside pass rusher for awhile. While the defense has tried to transition to a 3-4, the Eagles have struggled to find a consistent pass-rushing threat on their roster. Previous draft picks, like defensive end Brandon Graham, have not worked, and Philadelphia knows this is one of the most important needs for them in the draft.
Auburn defensive end Dee Ford would be up for the task, and the Eagles should really consider drafting him.
It took a while for Ford to really make an impact in college football. After what was a quiet beginning to his football career at Auburn, Ford exploded as a breakout candidate in his senior season. The first team All SEC defensive end saved his best season for last with Auburn, making 12.5 tackles for loss with eight sacks in 2013. He was one of the bigger reasons for Auburn’s run toward a national championship, and really proved he is one of the better defensive ends in the country.
The Eagles should really consider Ford not just because of his ability, but his versatility. At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Ford is one of the smaller, but yet still tenacious defenders in draft. He has the ability to play a defensive end in a 4-3, or even play as a pass-rusher in the 3-4, which is something the Eagles really need. Although Auburn didn’t show many 3-4 looks, Ford has the skill set and ability as a pass rusher to be able to fit in a 3-4 at outside linebacker. Philadelphia struggled to get to the quarterback last year, and his skill set would immediately improve the mediocre pass rush for the Eagles.
Even though the Eagles have Trent Cole still adjusting to outside linebacker, and Connor Barwin is on the other side, head coach Chip Kelly is always looking for role players, and Ford would be able to provide this for Philadelphia. Cole has struggled ever since moving to outside linebacker, and adding Ford could give the Eagles’ defense the spark that it really needs.
There is concern about Ford’s injury to his back. Ford’s back has been an issue, and has limited him in some of his workouts. However, his agent has told teams he has a procedure done three years ago on his back, and he has been playing with it ever since. It hasn’t stopped Ford or prevented him in his play, and teams should not consider it a risk when scouting the defensive end.
Even though the Eagles really do need help in the secondary, adding Ford, despite being a linebacker, could help the secondary. Without a pass rush, opposing quarterbacks have all day to throw against the mediocre Philadelphia secondary. If Ford is added and is used as a pass rushing specialist, he could really create more opportunities for the defensive backfield. It might not fix all of their problems, but Ford could definitely make an impact.
Drafting Ford might not fix everything on the Eagles’ defense, but it would definitely start the rebuilding process, and make Philadelphia a better defense.