There was plenty of drama leading up to the Kansas City Chiefs first round pick on Thursday night. Johnny Manziel was falling and the exciting quarterback was quickly approaching No. 23, where the Chiefs were sitting, and reportedly interested.
Then the Cleveland Browns jumped up and grabbed the 22nd pick to take the former Texas A&M star and that meant the decision was easy for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey: take the highest rated player playing up front.
As we noted in our mock draft, both the coach and GM have worked in front offices that build their teams through the offensive and defensive lines. So that meant the pick was Dee Ford, a DE/LB from Auburn that will give the Kansas City defense one more way to try and get to the quarterback in 2014.
Ford was immediately tabbed as the replacement for LB Tamba Hali, but it’s way too early to punch the Pro Bowler’s ticket out of town. There’s no reason Hali, Ford and Justin Houston can’t all be on the field together at the same time.
Obviously after next season this pick could afford the Chiefs to move on from Hali’s salary, but right now defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will find ways to use all three to try and find a way back into the playoffs. Considering the team’s pass rush was non-existent down the stretch last season, Ford is a perfect addition, something that isn’t lost on Dorsey.
“He has a unique ability to rush the passer, and in today’s National Football League, with the way the game has increased in speed, it gives you another pass-rushing component,” Dorsey told reporters Thursday night. “Everybody knows when you can rush the passer, it makes the back seven look a little bit better.”
That last part addresses the worry of some about the Chiefs passing up on a safety or cornerback. After all, if a defense can get find way to get pressure on the quarterback with four, everyone else will look better.
Ford will obviously need to get on the field, something he wasn’t able to always do during his time at Auburn. He suffered a season-ednding injury in 2011 and then missed three games over the next two seasons. Ford also was unable to participate at the combine, though he was able to workout at a pro day just two weeks later.
As we head into the second round, the Chiefs don’t currently own a pick after sending that selection to the San Francisco 49ers for Alex Smith.