The Kansas City Chiefs have been without their greatest player in franchise history, Derrick Thomas, for the past 15 years. Is the next great edge rusher on the Chiefs current roster? Can Dee Ford by the reincarnation of DT? Take a look at why Ford is an exceptional talent.
The mention of Derrick Thomas’ name brings about a whole range of emotions from fans of the Kansas City Chiefs. His name synonymous with folklore and tales of things that seem almost inhuman and impossible. To those who saw him play Derrick was nothing short of a Legend, but the newest generation of fans can never understand what he truly meant to this organization, to this city, and to football.
From day one, April 23, 1989, Chiefs fans accepted the number four overall pick with open arms. The same couldn’t be said for the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft. With names like Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, two all-pro pass rushers, why add another guy to the mix. Many fans wanted the team to go in a different direction, such as wide receiver or safety. Even with the initial underwhelming show of support, Dee Ford has been nothing but positive.
Dee is humble, and he is a professional. He came into KC with a great mentality. “I’m here to be a teammate. I’m here to learn. There are a lot of guys who are Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers here, who I’m just trying to learn a lot from” said Ford in his introductory press conference.
Once he hit the field in Chiefs rookie minicamp and the first iteration of OTAs, Dee showed why he was the Chiefs number one pick. He has already earned the respect of some of his veteran teammates.
Tamba Hali on Ford. “His first step. If anybody reminds you of Derrick Thomas, that kid should pretty much remind you of Derrick Thomas’ first step. He gets off the ball so fast, it’s scary. I just kept rewinding it yesterday just looking at his first step and it’s almost like as soon as the ball snaps, he’s with it.” Dontari Poe said, “He’s doing everything he really needs to do. He comes in and works hard. He asks a lot of questions. Anything there is to do, he’s doing it.”
When asked about what he can bring to the Chiefs in terms of getting to the QB, Dee answered, “well, this is the home of Derrick Thomas; I know you all remember that speed. That get-off is so vital and so deadly, just the speed rush itself, it opens up everything. I have a lot of counters, and there are definitely a lot of things I’m going to learn in the league, from all of the vets that are here. I love speed rush, the speed and power and I love to spin. Pass rush is an art and it’s all about what you put into it. You can do whatever you want with it.” He went on to add, “anyone can go out and have 10 or 12 sacks; but when your team really needs you to end the game or end a drive and you have those sacks, those are very vital to your team. I want to always have productive, efficient sacks.”
Ford wants the best for this team, but has high ambitions for himself. “I want to be a Hall of Famer,” Dee said. “I watched Lawrence Taylor. I watched Derrick Thomas. I watched Ray Lewis, a lot.” That’s a pretty elite group of players to model your game around.
Does all of this mean that Ford will be the next Derrick Thomas? No, he could never be Derrick Thomas, but he can be Dee Ford.
“I wanted to be drafted to a place where I can make a difference and where I can really fit in,” Ford said. “This is really a perfect blessing for me and an opportunity for me to learn; it’s going to be great. I believe in work, hard work and that’s really me. When you think about Dee Ford, that’s what you think about, the weight room, the extra work and everything; you have to be a grinder and that’s been my mentality and I’m always going to keep it.”
“I feel at home right now. I want to be a Chief forever.” Let’s hope that’s the case.
Julian Robinson, Pro Football Spot Kansas City Chiefs Team Journalist. Follow Julian on Twitter @J_Robinson_II and the PFS Chiefs team @spot_chiefs for the very latest in Chiefs Kingdom.