Paris Ford Scouting Report

Paris Ford is one of the most physical players in the 2021 NFL draft class. He makes huge hits look almost routine which makes for a very exciting game. Even though his big hits may be the most exciting part of his game, he does have other areas where he shows upside. He fills holes well blocking off any running lanes, and he is a prototype strong safety, maybe one of the best pure strong safeties in this class. Even with these strengths, there are some concerns surrounding his consistency tackling, as he misses a lot of tackles. His versatility is also a concern for some teams as he didn’t cover well against receivers when he was asked to. Even though he could fall to the later rounds, there is no doubt one of the more exciting prospects in the draft this year

Paris Ford Stats And Measurables:

College: Pittsburgh

Position: Safety (Strong Safety)

Number: 12

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 190 lbs

2018 Stats: 4 Games/5 TOTAL/3 SOLO

2019 Stats: 12 Games/97 TOTAL/60 SOLO/3 FF/3 INT/1 TD/11 PD

2020 Stats: 7 Games/41 TOTAL/30 SOLO/3 INT/3 PD

Strengths:

1. As previously stated, Paris is a huge hitter. On a weekly basis, he would plow through a ball carrier and go straight into the highlight reel. He isn’t scared of anyone, and even against guys 40 pounds heavier than him he still would lower his shoulder and send them to the turf. This exciting aspect to his game drew in tons of viewers to watch him play at Pittsburgh, and he did not disappoint. He garnered tons of fans in college due to his ability to send ball carriers flying. Even though NFL teams may not hold this ability in as high regard as fans do, it certainly brought a spark to the Pitt defense and helped flip momentum when they needed it.

2. Aside from his big hits, Ford was very skilled at jumping routes, which allowed him to intercept or break up a ton of passes. He moves around receivers well without playing through them and he doesn’t miss the ball often. His reaction time and acceleration helped him make plays on the ball before it was too late. Ford consistently takes the right angles to the ball and is rewarded for it.

3. Ford is an extremely physical player as well, which helps him fit into his strong safety role almost flawlessly. He played mainly strong safety in college, and in the NFL he most likely will do the same as he is almost the definition of a prototype strong safety. His run support was phenomenal, and he filled gaps correctly almost every time blocking off any running lanes. His instincts help him be in the right place at the right time often putting him in a position to make a tackle in the backfield.

Via Jeffrey Gamza/Pitt Athletics

Weaknesses:

1. While Paris is most definitely a big hitter, there are concerns about his tackling consistency. He seems to be more of a hit or miss type of tackler, as he goes for a big hit almost every time he has the chance. This caused him to miss a lot of tackles during his college career. He lacks technique when tackling which is the main thing teams will want him to work on. If he gets his technique down his consistency should be much less of a problem in the NFL. 

2. Although Ford fits into his strong safety role incredibly well, there are some concerns surrounding his versatility. He struggled in coverage especially when matched up with receivers, and he wasn’t able to match up with tight ends or running backs quite as well as teams would want him to. He doesn’t read routes well and although he does show skill breaking on the ball sometimes he is so out of position he isn’t able to make a play. He regularly guessing routes incorrectly, making him susceptible to double moves. Teams tried to expose this flaw in college against Ford and it worked quite well especially against elite-level tight ends and running backs. In the NFL the route running ability of these tight ends and running backs will only improve, and whatever team he joins will definitely try to work on his coverage skills.

Closing Ideas:

Even with his inconsistencies, Paris Ford is a phenomenal strong safety who can not only hit hard but can also provide excellent run support to a team. His ability to break on the ball is incredible and although he does struggle in coverage sometimes this can be worked on. If his tackling technique is worked on and he improves his coverage ability he could become one of the better safeties to come out of this draft class. His exciting physical play is must-see TV and he will surely bring lots of attention with him to wherever he is picked.

Player comparison: Jonathan Abrams

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