Auburn edge rusher Dee Ford made a statement from the moment he stepped on the scale Tuesday.
Ford, who was scratched medically because of a back issue he and his agent called a precaution, weighed in at 244 pounds. Down from 252 at the NFL Scouting Combine 10 days ago, Ford intends to show teams he can convert from 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker or hybrid pass rusher role.
Ford is an explosive pass rusher but with limited repetitions dropping into coverage, his position drills Tuesday and in private workouts are vital to nailing down a first-round grade. Ford is rated No. 28 overall by NFLDraftScout.com.
Scouts expected him to test well and Ford didn't disappoint. He had a 35 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot-4-inch long jump, 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and 4.59 on his first 40-yard dash attempt and 4.54 on his second.
Including all "edge" players in NFLDraftScout.com's rankings, Ford is behind South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney (No. 1), Buffalo's Khalil Mack (7), UCLA's Anthony Barr (10) and Missouri's Kony Ealy (17).
Clowney had a 37 1/2-inch vertical, 21 bench reps, 4.53 40 time and 7.27 three-cone time in Indianapolis. Ealy's 6.83 three-cone stood out; he had a 31-inch vertical.
Mack was timed in the 4.53-4.55 range Tuesday at Buffalo's pro day.
Ford, who was discouraged he didn't hit 30 reps on the bench, appeared to hush concern over his back.
"There is nothing wrong with Dee and he will show it," Adisa Bakari, Ford's agent, told The Sports Xchange on Monday. "He had a procedure on his back in 2011 and has played a lot of great football since then with no problem whatsoever. We were all surprised he was held out. There was no reason for it."
A team in the market for OLB help might stack Ford's resume against that of Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds. Worilds, the 20th pick in the second round (52nd overall) in 2010, ran 4.65 at the combine and at 6-1 1/4, 258, was a major projection from Virginia Tech's 4-3. On Tuesday, Worilds signed a $9.754 million one-year transition tender for the 2014 season.
If drafted in the mid-20s as projected by NFLDraftScout.com -- to, say, the Chargers at No. 25 -- Ford would likely earn between $7.81 million and $8.01 million in his first four seasons.
Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Greg Robinson (2), who turned in one of the most impressive combine workouts in recent memory at 6-5, 332 in Indianapolis, weighed 327 at Tuesday's workout but wisely stood on his numbers from the combine. Robinson's schedule is about to be waylaid by private workouts. He revealed Tuesday that his first will be Friday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (seventh overall pick).
Cornerback Chris Davis ran a 4.51 with a 40 1/2-inch vertical Tuesday. The fourth-round prospect performed only the bench press at the scouting combine.
Ford grabbed attention in Indianapolis for the blunt critique of Clowney in which he referred to the freakish defensive end as a blind dog in a meat shop, bagging on his instincts and inability to turn his athletic gifts into on-field production. Both players laughed it off, and said there was nothing personal lingering from the barbs.
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