Dee Ford already has a lot to live up to. The Kansas City Chiefs first round pick has already been compared to Derrick Thomas. On Tuesday, one of his Chiefs teammates said part of Ford's game kind of reminds him of Von Miller.
Juuust a little bit of high praise.The common theme with this high praise (besides it being ridiculously early)? They're talking about Ford's first step. It's fast as hell (that's a technical term).
The Derrick Thomas reference came a few weeks ago from Tamba Hali, who has experience with good pass rushers being one himself and playing with Justin Houston.
"If anybody reminds you of Derrick Thomas, that kid should pretty much remind you of Derrick Thomas' first step," Hali said. "He gets off the ball so fast, it's scary. I just kept rewinding it yesterday just looking at his first step and it's almost like as soon as the ball snaps, he's with it. I don't know if he times it, but his first step is incredible."
The Von Miller mention came from LB Joe Mays on Tuesday at Chiefs OTAs. Miller has played with Von Miller and JJ Watt so he knows good pass rushers as well.
"That guy is explosive," Mays said. "He's quick off the ball. He kinda reminds me of Von Miller with the way that he gets off the ball and gets around the offensive linemen. He's a freak man. He knows how to work angles and uses his hands real well. He can bend and do all types of stuff you don't see in the everyday pass rushers. Definitely ‘as advertised'."
(Update: And this one, from DE Mike DeVito: "You can see his ability to get off on the ball makes me a little jealous. He can fly off that rock and is already picking up the defense which is difficult because there's a lot to it.")
What both of these quotes are saying is that his first step is really, really fast. The comparisons to DT and Von Miller will take the headlines (see my headline?) and can come off as a bit much because, well, the guy hasn't played in an NFL game yet. Digging into the actual quotes, you see that both are talking specifically about Ford's fast and explosive first step.
The goal with Ford early on in year one should be to find the one thing or a few things he does really well and take advantage of that. If his first step is so fast, find the best spots for him to be rushing the passer. Give him some package of plays you know he can execute and let him do that one thing really well. The rest of his game -- reading the defense, dropping in coverage, etc -- will start coming to him.
Ford is in the right defense if he wants to show off that first step. The Chiefs have moved all of their outside linebackers around at OTAs and shown just about every combination you can think of (minus Justin Houston, who remains out).
"An attack-style defense," Mays said Tuesday when asked the personality of the Chiefs defense. "The guys come out, and they're always going after the ball, always going after the quarterback. Whoever has the ball, you're going to have 11 guys to the ball. That's something I found out once I came here. Always get to the ball. We want everyone on the ball so we can try to create more turnovers, have more takeaways and try to get the offense back on the field."
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton makes things as easy as possible for the players, Mays said. Sutton is known for mixing and matching things on the defensive side of the ball. I want to see what he comes up for Ford and his first step.