by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Texas, Linebacker, Jaylan Ford
Name- Jaylan Ford
HT/WT- 6’3” 242 lbs.
Home – Frisco, TX
Jaylan Ford starred at Lone Star High School in Frisco, Texas where he was a District 5-5A All-State in 2019. As a senior, Ford amassed 142 tackles, including 11 for loss, 1 sack, 6 pressures, and 1 interception. He originally committed to Utah but changed his mind and selected Texas to play for the Longhorns.
As a freshman in 2020, Ford played in 10 games, mostly on special teams and ended the season with 14 tackles. As a sophomore, he became a big part of the linebacker rotation, playing in 12 games with 2 starts and collecting 53 tackles for Texas.
Last season, Ford came into his own and was named a first team All-Big 12 selection. He started 12 of 13 games and was a tackling machine, collecting 119 tackles and 2 sacks. He was also a presence in coverage with 4 interceptions and 2 pass breakups.
So far this season, Ford has accumulated 25 tackles and 2 interceptions through the first 4 games.
Jaylan Ford is quick off the ball and has an athletic explosion to beat offensive linemen to their spots. He has solid instincts and reads plays well and is able to beat linemen around the edge. He plays with strong hands and does an efficient job of shedding blockers at the line of scrimmage. He is a playmaker in pass coverage and breaks on the ball well, netting 6 interceptions in his past 17 games. He has the athleticism to cover backs and tight ends and has fluid change of direction to help in coverage.
Ford has adequate speed but not the top end speed of other linebacker prospects. He sells out for the run at times and loses where he is supposed to be in coverage. He is not an efficient pass rusher and has only a couple of moves in his arsenal. He has the ability to pursue but does not take the best angles when closing in.
When watching tape of Jaylan Ford, Draft 412 was reminded of a 2022 5th round draft pick out of LSU named Damone Clark. Clark has always been a tackling machine who can be challenged by misdirections and faster receivers. Ford is a better playmaker at this stage and has a slightly higher ceiling than Clark.
Sells out to stop run
Pass rushing skill
Jaylan Ford, coming off his 119 tackle season, has been steadily climbing up most draft boards and could possibly end up a late second day pick.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 4th round