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Reid: "Dee Ford is a relentless football player"

Posted May 8, 2014

Coach Reid addresses the media, following the team's first-round draft pick

Roughly a few hours after Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid addressed the team's draft party fans, he returned to the microphone, only this time, talking about the newest member of the Chiefs family, first-round draft pick Dee Ford, selected 23rd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday.

OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, so with the 23rd pick, we took Dee Ford from Auburn, defensive end/outside linebacker. He's a tremendous person and has an extremely-high motor on the football field. He's a very intelligent player. He’s a concert pianist on top of being a heck of a football player, so we look forward to bringing him into our defense. I think I mentioned this, and John (Dorsey) has mentioned it, you can’t have enough pass rushers and Dee falls into that category. He had a bit of a knee injury this past season and worked through that as the season went on and continued to get better. He ended with 10.5 sacks this past season which is a good, healthy number. He played his best football at the end of the year, the championship game was tremendous. He had a great Senior Bowl; he was probably healthiest, during that period at the Senior Bowl. He’s somebody that we add into Bob (Sutton’s) defense and he really becomes a guy that can mix in with Tamba (Hali) and Justin (Houston) and all of the good rushers, (Dontari) Poe, that we have; you need that in the AFC West, along with the divisions we’re playing this year.”

Q: Do you plan to use him as a defensive end or outside linebacker?

REID: “Well, we’re going to teach him how to play outside linebacker. He doesn’t have the snaps at outside linebacker, a little like Tamba (Hali), when Tamba came out. That’s not where he’s had the majority of all of his snaps, he’s been a rush defensive end. He’s somebody that you can work in there immediately in a third‐down, nickel situation and as you know, a percentage of our snaps end up leaning towards our nickel defense.”

Q: Is he a project?

REID: “No, I wouldn’t say a project. I think he can make that conversion; that’s why we took him. We think that he is very capable of making that conversion.”

Q: Is it because Tamba Hali is getting older?

REID: “I think it’s more of mixing him in with that group. You need as many of those guys as you can possibly get out there; it just gives you a ton of flexibility of doing different things. He’s rushed from the inside, and he’s rushed from the outside. He’s very quick and very fast. I’d probably tell you if he wasn’t the quickest defensive lineman off of the ball in this draft, he surely was close to it. He’s got great explosion off of the football.”

Q: As you explain him, he sounds like Tamba Hali.

REID: “Yeah, I think you look at both of our outside linebackers, that’s kind of what makes a good outside linebacker. We’re asking them to do different things; we’re asking them to be able to work into coverage and at the same time be able to rush the passer. We just think he’s capable of doing that.”

Q: Had you already had Ford on the board and knew he was your guy?

REID: “Yeah, that was it. We identified him a while back and liked him and (John) Dorsey felt very strongly about him, and we went with it.”

Q: How much difference was there between him and the next grade on your board?

REID: “There were three or four players there that were very close.”

Q: Can you add some good weight to him or is he maxed out?

REID: “I’m not sure how much weight he really needs to add. I think he’s pretty good, just the way he is. Normally, you see these guys, especially in those positions, over the first two or three years, put on about ten pounds; I’m not necessarily saying he needs to do that – 252 pounds, that’s a pretty healthy outside linebacker. He’s good against the run and the pass. The thing that I think is one of his strengths is the way he uses his arms and his hands; he sets those nice and tight. He’s got a great stab move, which is important for a pass rusher. He needs to transfer it over to this level, as all the rookies do. He’s got work ahead of him to do that. I think he’s an energy giver. He’s going to come in and you’re going to see, when you have a chance to meet with him; he’ll bring a very positive energy into the locker room.”

Q: He’s been injured in college. Did that change your decision at all?

REID: “We checked with Rick (Burkholder) and our docs and they felt good about it. He had a pretty good season this past year, so we feel pretty good about that.”

Q: You said he energizes. How does he do that?

REID: “Well, you’ll see his personality. He’s a great personality. You’ll have a chance to meet him, and when you meet him, you’ll see that.”

Q: You and John have both talked about how you want guys that have passion. How do you see that in him?

REID: “He’s a relentless football player. He’s going to give you an honest snap every snap, tremendous motor, great attitude. All those intangibles are really positive. I’ve told you this before, your offensive line, your defensive line, they make everyone around them much better, so if they’re playing at a high level, it works out pretty good for you. Sometimes, they’re not the flashiest picks in the world, but there is no time that that’s more obvious than when you’re in the playoffs. When those two groups are dominating, those are the teams that are normally playing in that final game. That’s just how it works. It’s year, after year, after year that that takes place.”

Q: Were you close to taking a quarterback?

REID: “That’s not true. When you’re sitting at the 23rd pick, you’re looking at everybody. Absolutely, we check the quarterbacks out, but by no means was it Alex (Smith’s) play or contract or anything else. That had nothing to do with it. We looked at every position, across the board; that’s how we went.”

Q: Did you get any trade offers that you seriously considered?

REID: “I would tell you the phone was ringing, probably for the kid that went before us. They don’t tell you exactly who they want, but the phones were ringing at that time. I’m sure they were working both us and Philadelphia. That’s how it went.”

Q: Is he a run stopper or pass rusher?

REID: “Pass rusher. He’s got pass-rush ability. Maybe you'll get to see a couple clips on him, and you’ll see that. He’s pretty explosive off the ball. At the same time, he’s strong. He does a pretty good job against the run.”

Q: Would it be safe to say he’s better against the pass than the run?

REID: “Yeah, I think at that level, he’s good both ways. He’s made some huge plays. I think when you watch the bigger games, when they needed a play, he ended up making the play. I think that guy jumped out to John and me. At that level, he did both. There weren’t a tremendous amount of pass rushers in this draft by number, but I thought he was right up there with the best of them.”

Q: Did you see him drop into coverage much?

REID: “Well, they work him out at that, but that’s not what he did. A couple times they fire‐zoned him into coverage, but that wasn’t their defense. When you work him out, you felt like he could do that.”

Q: Does he have that natural bend that all those good pass rushers have?

REID: “Yeah, he can edge like crazy. He’s going to present the tackles a low, aggressive target. When you have a chance take a peek at the one‐on‐ones from the Senior Bowl, he had rep after rep, after rep, showing that, how low he is off the ground.”

Q: If you look at history, you and John tend to go after linemen. Why is that?

REID: “I think they make everybody better. You want an explosive defensive line that you can throw different combinations at the offense with. It makes the secondary better; it makes the linebackers better. That’s how it works.”

Q: Where is Tamba Hali at right now physically?

REID: “He’s doing great. There’s a chance they’re both on the field together. Tamba is fine. Tamba is healthy and been at our workouts, working his tail off.”

Q: Is there a concern regarding Tamba’s weight?

REID: “No. No, I’m not worried about Tamba’s weight. Nobody works harder than Tamba.”

Q: Would you have taken Johnny Manziel if Cleveland hadn’t taken him?

REID: “I would have called you first to make sure it’s okay. He’s a heck of a football player.”

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