Dynasty Prospect Scouting Report: Jerome Ford
Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati
40-yard dash: 4.46 seconds
3-cone time: DNP
Short shuttle: DNP
Broad jump: 118 inches
Vertical jump: 31 inches
A 4-star recruit, Ford chose Alabama over Tennessee, Nebraska, North Carolina and others.
After redshirting in 2018, Ford actually drew the start in ‘Bama’s 2019 opener vs. Duke. (Brian Robinson and Najee Harris were suspended for the 1st half.) But that was pretty much it for Ford in Tuscaloosa. He transferred to Cincinnati in January, 2020.
There, he teamed up with power back Gerrid Doaks, a 7th-rounder last year. Doaks out-carried Ford 144-73 despite playing 1 fewer game in 2020. Doaks topped Ford as a receiver, too (14 catches vs. 8).
When Doaks jumped to the pros last spring, Ford took over the Bearcats backfield.
Ford paced the team with 215 attempts, 169 ahead of #2 back Ryan Montgomery. He tallied 6.2 YPC, 6th most in this class among RBs with 150+ attempts.
Ford missed 1 game with a left ankle injury, but he still managed 19 TDs — 4th most in the class. And with 220 receiving yards (alongside QB Desmond Ridder) Ford saw a decent 7.2% share of the team total.
So we’re looking at a player with just 1 year of major production. Now, does the tape show enough to forecast meaningful pro production?
Games watched: Navy, Alabama, Houston, Indiana, Tulane
Here's the case for Ford: The man can scoot.
Beyond a strong 40-time, his 10-yard split checked in at 1.55 seconds, putting him in the 68th percentile among Combine RBs since 1999 (via MockDraftable).
Adding in his weight (220), his Speed Score amounts to 111.2 — well above average.
On tape, that burst clearly shows up:
Ford posted 3 runs of 75+ yards in 2021 alone — plus 1 in 2020. The next run isn't quite that long, but it's just as impressive as the first...
At times, Ford showed the ability to translate that speed into power. He does so in a tight space below, gaining a first down off of that burst. You like the footwork, too, but it's worth noting that Ford posted a 4.22 short shuttle and a 7.31 three-cone at his Pro Day -- both subpar marks.
Here's how Ford assessed his game this winter, via TheSpun.com: "I think the best part of my game is my versatility. If I could improve on something, it’d be route-running and pass-catching," he said. "All the good running backs in the league are able to play three downs and run routes out of the backfield. If I want to be in the league for a long time, I need to make sure I get better at that."
Ford was aided by the pick below -- but you get a glimpse of his hands on a ball thrown behind. And just the fact that he ran a wheel route speaks to how the Cincy staff evaluated Ford's talent. Overall, he caught 21 of his 22 targets last season.
Ford didn't post any drops in 2021, but he enters the league with 6 fumbles over the past 3 seasons (312 attempts). It'll be an area to monitor going forward.
I also thought Ford's play style was a bit boom or bust. Last year, he posted three games with fewer than 4 YPC; three with 10 YPC or more. While he's a 4-year player, exiting school with only 1 season of 100+ carries speaks to his rawness.
Ford checks boxes for speed, power and production. He might not have routinely faced top-notch competition, but the tape at least shows enough for Ford to make an NFL roster as a developmental player.
While we’ll see where he’s drafted, landing anywhere beyond the 4th or 5th round would be somewhat alarming — especially in a year that looks thin at RB.
Also note: Ford will be on the old side for a rookie (23 in September). Given the lack of tread off his tires, though, this shouldn’t be considered a major negative.