Auburn pass rusher Dee Ford was rarely blocked all week at the Senior Bowl, using his superior speed to run past offensive tackles before they could lift out of their stances.
Ford put on a show Saturday for the South squad in their 20-10 victory over the North, displaying his edge pass-rushing skills to record two sacks and a pass deflection by halftime of the all-star game.
Following the game, Ford told reporters: "I made a little money."
He's correct in his assessment, but he didn't need the game to validate his ability.
Ford is a classic hybrid pass rusher as a 3-4 outside linebacker who could potentially play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme if the 6-foot-2, 243-pound senior adds enough bulk.
He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and could go anywhere from later in the first round to early in the second round. He's rated among the top 40 draft prospects, but could climb higher since he's expected to excel at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Ford started getting chip-blocked and double-teamed in the second half.
"We had a hard time blocking him in the first half," Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, the coach of the North squad, said during a news conference. "He's an outstanding edge rusher and was very disruptive in the first half, so we definitely had to make some adjustments."
Ford shed blocks easily and slammed 6-foot-6, 254-pound Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas to the ground.
Ford had two sacks of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in the BCS national title game and had 10 1/2 sacks for the season.
His explosiveness as a speed rusher was extremely difficult to stop, whether he lined up on the left side or right side. His ability to lower his pad level, bend his knees and maintain his acceleration while dipping low to the ground was impressive.
"I feel like I made some money, but that's not what I came here to do,'' Ford said. "I came here to create some relationships and have fun and show these coaches who I am off the field. I think they knew what kind of player they were getting, but they wanted to know how I was off the field and I think I got that done. ...
"I just wanted to be consistent. It's easy to be good on Day One, Day Two, but I was able to bring it out for the entire week. I had a feeling I would either be standing up or have my hands on the ground, but nothing was going to surprise me in what they asked me to do.''
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