Regardless of accolades within the Massive 12 in faculty, the just-under-six-foot defensive lineman wasn’t invited to the NFL Mix
RENTON, Wash. — Poona Ford understood there was an inexpensive chance that he wouldn’t be drafted.
Whenever you’re a defensive lineman and also you’re not even six toes tall, it’s troublesome to buck perceptions that you just’re not lower out for the NFL. Though he was the Massive 12 Convention Defensive Lineman of the 12 months in 2017, Ford wasn’t invited to the NFL Mix, solely met with one crew earlier than the draft, and has grow to be used to folks doubting his talents.
“I knew I used to be going to get a possibility, and that’s all I wanted on the finish of the day,” Ford mentioned.
That chance got here when the Seattle Seahawks — the one crew to have him in for a go to earlier than the draft — supplied him a spot as an undrafted free agent.
Ford is the one defensive lineman within the NFL – on an energetic roster, injured listing, follow squad or in any other case – formally listed with a peak of beneath six toes. He was measured at 5 toes, 11 5/eight inches at his Professional Day testing on the College of Texas in March.
Every crew is allowed to carry as much as 30 gamers to their headquarters for a private interview. Seattle was Ford’s solely go to.
“That form of mentioned one thing to me too with the go to,” Ford mentioned. “They had been the one crew that wished to satisfy with me so I simply went with it.”
Ford has accomplished his finest to point out the Seahawks their choice to take an opportunity on him was worthwhile. He earned a spot on the crew’s energetic roster on the finish of coaching camp and steadily made a case for extra enjoying time. He performed a season-high 50 per cent of snaps within the loss to the San Francisco 49ers and responded with six tackles, together with three for loss.
“He’s been actually aggressive,” coach Pete Carroll mentioned. “He’s proven actually good instincts to get a really feel for taking benefit and making performs on the opposite aspect of the road of scrimmage. He’s going to get some extra enjoying time.”
In opposition to the 49ers, Ford stopped working again Jeff Wilson Jr. for a one-yard loss within the second quarter, defeating the block of centre Weston Richburg; cut up a niche to drop working again Matt Breida for a three-yard loss within the third quarter; then beat Richburg once more in additional time to cease Breida for a five-yard loss. He has additionally proven he can pursue laterally down the road of scrimmage, making a deal with of Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders in house in October.
“He’s received a very good preliminary quickness and the flexibility to get off the ball,” line of defense coach Clint Hurtt mentioned. “Actually good fingers participant and really, very sturdy, and he has longer arms for a man that’s his peak. So he has some distinctive traits to him.”
After being inactive for 5 of the primary 11 video games of the season, Ford has been within the lineup for every of the final 4 weeks. He’s recorded 12 of his 16 whole tackles this season within the final 4 video games.
“This yr has been simply actually like studying every little thing,” Ford mentioned. “So far as finding out movie and so far as like follow habits and stuff like that. Simply placing every little thing collectively, and that’s what I’m form of doing now could be simply placing every little thing collectively that I realized all through the season.”
Ford nonetheless expects folks to doubt whether or not he can proceed to get issues accomplished. That doubt has frequently fuelled him to show in any other case. He has a screenshot of a since-deleted tweet because the background for his Twitter page that claims: “From what we’re listening to Poona Ford could be very unlikely to make the Seahawks roster.”
He’s nonetheless right here and changing into a much bigger a part of Seattle’s defence every week.
“Lots of people thought I wouldn’t actually do a lot in faculty. I’ve been productive there. And lots of people have mentioned I’m going to get lower and this and that. I exploit that to my benefit as a lot as doable,” Ford mentioned.
• Left guard J.R. Sweezy is uncertain to play in opposition to the Cardinals due a foot damage. Carroll mentioned the restoration is mostly three to 4 weeks however they consider Sweezy can play within the crew’s playoff opener subsequent week. …
• Proper guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), working again Rashaad Penny (knee), sturdy security Bradley McDougald (knee), free security Tedric Thompson (ankle) and defensive finish Dion Jordan (knee) are all questionable.
NEXT GAME: SUNDAY
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks
1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Subject, TV: FOX, Radio: TSN 1040 AM