Ford Not Surprised By First Round Pick

Auburn's Dee Ford was selected 23rd overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2014 NFL Draft.

New York, N.Y.--The meteoric rise of Auburn defensive end Dee Ford as an NFL prospect became complete on Thursday night when he was selected 23rd overall in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I'm not surprised," Ford said. "I hope I don't sound arrogant, but I'm definitely working in God's favor right now. I'm definitely surprised it was Kansas City, but I'm not surprised it was the first round.

"I love edge rushers and I'm a big fan of Tamba Hali," he added. "I'm definitely a big fan of his and the one on the other side (Houston). I'm a big fan of Eric Berry and actually played him my freshman year at Tennessee. I love Andy Reid and the staff."

Making a name for himself as a senior with big games against Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and against Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game, Ford finished his huge year by becoming the first Auburn defensive lineman taken in the first round of the draft since Nick Fairley in 2011.

Ford became the second selection from Auburn in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, joining offensive tackle Greg Robinson. Robinson was taken by St. Louis with the second pick.

Joining a team that features pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, Ford could become a key third-down rush specialist for the Chiefs, but could also transition to the outside linebacker position as well. ESPN's John Gruden said Ford could be just what the doctor ordered for a Chiefs team that got caught short last season late in the year.

"They need a third rusher because when Hali and Houston got hurt they had nothing," Gruden said. "This kid has one kid going for him and that's speed. 4.53 (40-yard dash) and he's as fast as (Jadeveon) Clowney. He is an excellent speed rusher. I don't know about converting him right away to the outside linebacker position, but I believe he can do it. Kansas City now has a trio of rushers that can do damage."

Ford celebrates one of his sacks against Florida State.

Heading into the 2011 season Ford had played in 26 games as a reserve defensive end, but had just 22 tackles and three sacks. Suffering a back injury that required surgery for a herniated disk, Ford missed the 2011 season and struggled with injuries throughout 2012 as well.

Despite starting just seven games he managed six and a half sacks as a junior to build plenty of momentum heading into his final year. Even though he missed two full games with a knee problem to open the season and was very limited in another, Ford led Auburn with 10 1/2 sacks to put his name squarely on the minds of NFL scouts following the 2013 season..

Dee Ford is shown at practice before the BCS Championship Game in January.

"Think about what he did this year against Johnny Manziel," Mel Kiper Jr. said. "Two sacks on the final drive of that game and a fourth down stop of Manziel. Pressure on the final play against Georgia. A sack in the SEC Championship Game against Missouri. Two sacks against Florida State in the BCS title game. Then, the the great Senior Bowl week down in Mobile which pushed him into first round discussion."

With his future now set in stone as part of the Chiefs organization, Ford said it's time to get to work and he's looking forward to doing big things in K.C.

"I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and I hope everyone is looking forward to seeing me," Ford said. "We're going to have some great times. I plan on being a Kansas City Chief forever, no trading me. Let's get it done."

Last season Ford's defensive line teammate, Corey Lemonier, was selected in the third round with the 88th selection by the San Francisco '49ers. He is the earliest drafted defensive end from Auburn since Quentin Groves went in second round with the 52nd pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although he played outside linebacker in Auburn's scheme, Aundray Bruce is the only other first round defensive end from Auburn, taken first overall by Atlanta in 1988.

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