The Arizona Cardinals ended their 2017 NFL Draft earlier than expected last night when they sent both of their accrued 7th round selections to the Oakland Raiders to move up into the 6th round and pick up Auburn defensive back, Johnathan Ford.
Ford, more commonly known as ‘Rudy’ Ford, began his career at Auburn as a running back before switching to defensive back very early on in his career there. A very solid performer as a nickel back, he brings with him the ability to both play safety and cornerback but it would appear the Cardinals will be looking for him to play the CB role and maybe be the answer to their CB2 issues.
He started for three straight seasons with the Auburn Tigers, leading the team in tackles in both 2015 and 2016 and then earning several All-SEC honours in his final season with the team in 2017. So, solid production once again from an Arizona Cardinals draft selection.
Add to that the fact he’s another ‘high character’ guy with a tremendous work ethic, you can see why the Arizona Cardinals coveted him enough to give up their final two selections to bring him onto their roster.
Given his abilities, there’s a chance he will be used from Day 1 as a Special Teams player – somewhere the team struggled mightily last season and somewhere he may be able to contribute both as a cover guy and also as a returner given the skills he has shown performing those duties in the past; probably have to beat out fellow draft pick T.J. Logan for some of those though.
Also, with his experience as a nickel back in college and the Arizona Cardinals defence being a side who spends a large majority of their time on defence in that package, he could quite easily get reps early on in his NFL career should he be able to show coaches he is able to play the position just as well at this level as he was in NCAA Football.
For now though, the Cardinals draft is in the books and there’s just the small matter of signing up loads and loads of undrafted free agents from the pool of unsuccessful draftees who weren’t selected within the three days of the NFL Draft. Could they possibly find another Tony Jefferson amongst them this year?
Now the long wait for the NFL Season to begin…begins….