With the 234th pick, in the seventh round, the Packers selected Jonathan Ford, a defensive tackle from Miami. Ford, at 6’ 1” 333 lbs, profiles as a nose tackle for the Packers. He was the 317th ranked player on the PFF draft big board.
Ford flashed the ability to two-gap and stop the run at Miami but was extremely inconsistent. His athletic comparisons include former Bear Eddie Goldman and Alan Branch. Other than height/weight, none of his combine measures were over 50th percentile.
Ford profiles as a run only defender in the NFL. His huge size alone should help keep offensive line bodies off of linebackers.
On the Packers, Ford could evolve into a rotational nose. Right now, Kenny Clark is the best or second-best nose in the league and TJ Slaton has the potential to make a big leap this season. It’s possible that this pick signals that the team wants Clark to play more 3- and 5-technique moving forward. Ford and Slaton lining up over the center would allow Clark, Wyatt, Reed, Lowry, and maybe even Kinglsey Enagbare to move around and exploit interior matchups.
Additionally, the draft selection of Quay Walker signaled the teams desire to focus on more nickel defense than dime against the pass. Big bodies, like Ford’s, are necessary up front if you want to stop the run in nickel with two high safeties. Ford is a 7th round pick who is probably a 50/50 shot to make the week 1 roster, but he shows that the team is working on fixing the run defense with personnel and alignment.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.