Chase Ford: 6 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of NFL Draft Prospect's Game

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IApril 20, 2012

Chase Ford: 6 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of NFL Draft Prospect's Game

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    Chase Ford could probably win the title as "the most unknown player in this year's NFL Draft." 

    In fact, there are probably even Miami (Fla.) fans who don't even know who this guy is, but yet somehow, he is on the verge of being drafted and living out his dream of becoming an NFL tight end.

    Ford played his first two years of college football at Kilgore Junior College before enrolling at Miami in 2010. He didn't have much production in a Hurricanes uniform, hauling in just 16 catches in two years for a measly 184 yards and two touchdowns.

    But because of his size, speed and showing at this year's East-West Shrine Game, Ford has a chance to make it at the next level.

    Let's go ahead and break down six strengths and weaknesses of Chase Ford's game, Bleacher Report style!

STRENGTH: Great Size

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    The NFL's newest trend is incorporating tight ends as featured receivers in the passing game, and those who are putting up the biggest numbers all have great size.

    Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Jason Witten are all 6'5" or taller and all are studs in the NFL today.

    Chase Ford might not have put up the numbers like those guys did in college, but he does stand 6'6", 245 pounds, and has the athleticism needed to succeed as a pass catching tight end at the professional level.

    Miami is known for producing great tight ends, so perhaps Ford will be the next name on that list.

WEAKNESS: Blocking

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    With his size, one might assume that Chase Ford would be a better blocker than he is.

    Ford doesn't have good footwork and hand placement when it comes to blocking. He leans into defenders and struggles to sustain his blocks at times.

    If Ford could only learn to channel the same competitive energy into blocking as he does when ripping the ball away from smaller defenders then he has a chance to make it in the NFL.

STRENGTH: Athletic

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    Ford's teammates and coaching staff at Miami knew he was extremely athletic, but the rest of the world didn't realize how talented this kid was until the week of the East-West Shrine Game.

    Ford put on a show in practice and the game, making numerous leaping receptions on passes that would not have been caught by the average tight end. He has solid speed, running a 4.69 40-yard dash, which allows him to get past linebackers and into the open field.

    As good as Ford can be in the open field, he is also good over the middle, showing the ability to catch passes through contact and stay on his feet for yards after the catch.

    Miami tight ends are known for their superior athleticism and Ford is no exception.

WEAKNESS: Lack of Production

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    Chase Ford spent his first two seasons of college football playing at Kilgore Junior College before transferring to Miami for his junior and senior season, so he hasn't had much experience playing against top-notch competition.

    In his two years at Miami, he totaled just 16 career receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He never had more than two catches in a game in his career and he only had one game where he recorded more than 21 receiving yards—and that was on one catch.

    Needless to say, the production hasn't been there for Ford, but if he finds a groove in the NFL, that could all change.

STRENGTH: Ball Skills

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    While Ford didn't have a ton of catches in college, he also rarely had any dropped passes.

    Ford's height combined with his huge hands give him the ability to go up and snag passes out of the air. He has very good body control and puts himself in the position to make quality catches when thrown to.

    It's obvious that if Ford is going to make it in the NFL, it is going to come as a pass catching tight end, likely in a backup role who is used for specifically passing downs. He is a developmental prospect, but one that should get a shot from a team in the later rounds of the NFL draft. If not, his pass catching skills should allow him to at least get a tryout with an NFL team in the future.  

WEAKNESS: Strength

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    Chase Ford has ideal height for the NFL, but not ideal strength.

    During his time at Miami, Ford was too often pushed around by linebackers on the second level and he was often muscled out of routes.

    At Miami's Pro Day, Ford put up 20 bench press reps. To put that into perspective, Orson Charles (Georgia), Dwayne Allen (Clemson) and Cody Fleener (Stanford), who are considered to be the top three tight end prospects in this year's draft class, put up 35, 27 and 27 reps respectively.

    Ford will have to hit the room and develop more strength if he is going to be playing on Sundays in the near future.