Auburn's Dee Ford's draft stock is scorching hot after he made the most of his Senior Bowl opportunity, wowing scouts during practice and then dominating the game itself to earn the MVP award.
Auburn Gold Mine relayed the news of his award-winning performance:
Here's Auburn's Dee Ford doing Dee Ford things to Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas in Senior Bowl. Named game's MVP: pic.twitter.com/z4C8HT8kv6— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) January 26, 2014
His stock was already hot after his brilliant late-season run for the Tigers, but after his exploits in Mobile, Ala., the young man has worked himself into the conversation as a potential first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
After racking up 8.5 sacks, 6.5 of which he earned against SEC competition, per Saturday Down South, leading up to the BCS National Championship Game, Ford tallied two sacks against Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
He dominated the edge in that game and then followed up his strong championship performance with an outstanding week of practice at Mobile. His elite quickness and speed were on display as he abused opposing offensive linemen time after time.
B/R's Matt Miller breaks down what he saw from the impressive pass-rusher during practice and provides perspective on when he'll likely be drafted:
The flashiest performer of Senior Bowl week was, without question, Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford. The smooth, sleek, explosive edge-defender was all over the field making plays. And his raw speed was undeniable from the stands.
The best fit for Ford moving ahead is likely at outside linebacker, but a big week here has pushed him into late first- or early second-round territory.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, who coached the South squad at the 2014 Senior Bowl, wasn't shy about praising Ford for a number of reasons, as John Zenor of the Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports relays:
I think that all it takes is one team to really like him, and I think that Dee is exciting. I really like his personality. I like his spirit. He loves the game, and he showcases that on the practice field. Any time a guy can come off the edge and show his ability to have some rushes in him, I think it really stands out and it really pops out for all the coaches.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com points out some of Ford's other characteristics that could boost his stock, as well:
Easy to see Dee Ford's explosiveness. Also was impressed with his physique at weigh-in, charisma at media day. Some guys just stand out.— Rob Rang (@RobRang) January 25, 2014
When should Ford be drafted?
At this point, his draft stock is at an all-time high.
It will be fascinating to see what kind of numbers Ford puts up in the drills at Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. He's already showed off elite speed during games, but an excellent 40-yard dash time could make him a lock in the bottom half of Round 1.
As it stands right now, it will be shocking if the talented edge-rusher slides outside the top 40 when the draft kicks off in New York on May 8, 2014.
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