NFL Prospect Focus: Dee Ford and Jeremiah Attaochu

Dee Ford – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Auburn

Size – 6021v – 252 v – 4.63e
Strong Points –Athlete, speed, use hands, pass rush, pursuit
Weak Points – Size for defensive end, consistency defending the run, shed run blocks, back problem
2013 Stats: 29 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks

Summation – Dee is a fifth-year senior and a two-year starter at defensive end for Auburn. He usually lines up on the left side. He plays in a rotation but still gets about 65% of the defensive snaps. Because of that rotation, his overall tackle count is low.

Dee was given a medical red shirt in 2011 after injuring his back in the third game and missing the rest of the season. At the Combine, the medical people advised Dee not to work out because of a back issue. The severity of that problem will ultimately determine where Dee gets drafted.

As a player, Ford is a pass rusher first. He is very quick off the ball, with an explosive first step. He stays low and knows how to use his hands. He has the snap and power through his hips to bull-rush and the quick feet, body control, and flexibility to be effective with moves and countermoves. He shows an excellent burst off of blocks to close to the quarterback. He consistently shows he can dip his shoulder and get under a blocker.

Ford can be inconsistent against the run. He lacks natural size and bulk, and at times, can be slow to get off the blocks of big lineman. He is instinctive and quick to find the ball but can be over powered. He is better when he uses his athleticism to slip blocks and run to the ball. As a pursuit player, he is very good because he consistently takes good angles, is a top competitor, and has speed.

Ford will be best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He has played on his feet in the past and has shown he can drop into coverage. Playing that position, he can still use his pass-rushing skills to his advantage. There are some 4-3 clubs that will like him, but I don’t think he can be an every-down player playing as a 4-3 defensive end. He just won’t be able to hold up versus the run at a top level.

Going forward, the main concern is his back issue. If it is something serious, it could have a negative effective on his draft status. If he does need surgery, that may not be a bad thing. Depending on the problem, it may be an 8 -10 week rehab, and he would be ready well before the start of training camp.

Grade – 6.7 A

Jeremiah Attaochu – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Georgia Tech

Size – 6032v – 252v – 4.72e
Strong Points – Pass rush, good athlete, uses hands as a pass rusher, competes
Weak Points – Size for defensive end, strength, shed blocks, inexperience in pass coverage
2013 Stats – 45 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks

Summation – Attaochu is a fourth-year senior and a three year starter at defensive end. He lines up on both sides of the formation, and while he is usually in a two-point stance, he also plays from a three-point stance.

Attaochu is an every down player for Georgia Tech and usually plays over 80% of the defensive plays in any given game. He is a good athlete and a top competitor. He has very good change of direction and body control and is light on his feet. He has play speed of about 4.72 with a good burst.

While he can be explosive, he lacks top strength at the point of attack. At 252 pounds, he often gives away size and power to his opponents. While he has quick hands, he can be slow getting off run blocks, and there are times I have seen him driven back by blockers. Still, he has the quickness to elude blocks when he has the opportunity.

Attaochu has good instincts and is a quick reactor. He finds the ball. He is quick to recognize both the run and pass. His initial quickness is very good from both a two-point and three-point stance.

The best thing Attaochu does is rush the passer. He is more of a move pass rusher than a bull rusher. He has the quick feet and quick hands to use moves and redirect his charge and is explosive coming off blocks to close. He is very effective using stunts with other defenders. You also see his top competitiveness when he is rushing the passer, as he never gives up on a play.

While Attaochu usually plays on his feet, you don’t see him drop into coverage that often. When he does, he has a good drop and is able to get depth, but you seldom see him have to make adjustments.

Overall, Attaochu will be best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He doesn’t have the size and power to play every down as a defensive end in a 4-3 and be efficient. He needs to increase his strength and power, but that shouldn’t be a problem. He will also need to get a feel for pass coverage, but he has the talent, athleticism, and instincts to be good in that area. In most 3-4 defenses, he will be used as a pass rusher on passing downs.

Attaochu has a lot of upside and should start early in his career. I can see him being a solid second round pick. He didn’t work out at the Combine, and we still need to get verified speed and jumps.

Grade – 6.6 A

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