The San Francisco 49ers are expecting a lot out of Dee Ford. That’s no surprise. Not only did they give up a future second round pick for him, but they also gave him a pretty nice sized deal. Kyle Shanahan had this to say about the impact Ford can have on star defensive tackle Deforest Buckner:
“It helps a lot. You had Aldon Smith and Justin Smith. I mean, those guys went very well together. And I don’t know which guy was more important. They both played off each other well.”
Shanahan was then asked on them lining up next to each other:
“I know I’d like them to move around,” said Shanahan, who also serves as the 49ers offensive coordinator. “Because from an offensive standpoint, it’s harder for me when I don’t know where they’re going to be. It’s harder to game plan. But also from a defensive standpoint, sometimes guys are a lot better than the other. So we’ve got to figure that out.”
Can Ford play the run?
I found it interesting that Shanahan went out of his way to compliment Ford and his run defense:
“You try to attack a guy that way. Just by knowing what his weight is, that’s the first thing you’re going to think of,” he said. “That’s something you’ve got to look into. … He plays with very good leverage, he will put his face into people. He has extremely high contact courage. And he’s got the ability to move around (blockers) very fast. It’s harder to tee off on a smaller guy when you can make him miss left and right. And then when you have a smaller guy who has the power he has, he can get you on your heels, too. We’ve got to be smart with that. We’ve got to help him in those ways. But we know the pass rusher he is and I think he’s done a good job in the run game also.”
Personally, run defense is overrated. I will beat that drum as long as I’m here. It’s more about effort than anything. That is what it seems like Shanahan is getting at above.
In regards to the Aldon and Justin, that is quite the parallel to make. At their ceiling, the Smiths were two of the top three players at their position. The same may be said for Buckner and Ford. Buckner is just scratching the surface of his potential. He’s really that good. Ford will need to show that he can string a couple good years together. The addition of whatever first round defender should also go a long way.
With Ford having somewhat of an injury history, it’ll be interesting to see if the team brings in another veteran that can rush the passer off of the edge, or if they are content with Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, and Kentavius Street as their secondary rushers.