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One projection not so high on Kansas City Chiefs' Dee Ford in 2014

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If Justin Houston or Tamba Hali go down, can Dee Ford replace them this season?

Jamie Squire

With the start of the 2014 football season comes the release of the Football Outsiders 2014 Almanac. In celebration of the Almanac, which is excellent, we talked with FO's Scott Kacsmar for a series of questions. The first one was on Jamaal Charles and which stats matter when evaluating his usage. The second one was on the chances the Chiefs have as outstanding of a turnover ratio as they did last year.

FO AlmanacPDFAmazon

The third one is on the Chiefs pass rush, which disappeared at times last year after a hot start. It's no coincidence that those disappearing acts came when Justin Houston and / or Tamba Hali was injured. The Chiefs addressed the problem with Dee Ford.

We know Dee Ford is the future. But what can he do in 2014 if Tamba Hali or Justin Houston go down again?

"With Hali going on 31, I definitely think the Chiefs were looking at the future with the Dee Ford pick, but also getting insurance in case something happens again to one of their top pass rushers," Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) from Football Outsiders wrote. "Their pressure rate on quarterbacks went from 28.7 percent to 19.6 percent after Justin Houston dislocated his elbow in Week 13.

"I'm skeptical of a rookie having a big impact as a part-time player." -Scott Kacsmar, Football Outsiders

"I'm skeptical of a rookie having a big impact as a part-time player. Aldon Smith pretty much did that with the 2011 49ers (interesting how they come up in comparison again), but he entered the league with higher expectations than Ford. We have a projection system called SackSEER that tries to predict how well a college pass rusher will fare in the NFL, and it's not a Ford fan. In fact, SackSEER projects Ford as this year's biggest potential bust.  His 29.3 percent rating pales in comparison to recent prospects like Aldon Smith (90.3 percent), Jadeveon Clowney (94.4 percent), Barkevious Mingo (94.6 percent) and Justin Houston (90.0 percent). Ford looks good in the "explosion index," but he wasn't very successful until his senior season, which is a red flag.

"The Chiefs may be able to develop Ford, but in 2014, a healthy Hali and Houston are far more valuable."