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Chiefs rookie Dee Ford will wear No. 55 to honor Derrick Thomas

Auburn FootballBefore his life ended too soon, at 33 years old in 2000, Derrick Thomas was among the more dominant pass rushers in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named to nine Pro Bowl teams. Prior to that, Thomas was a standout at the University of Alabama.

Among the many Thomas inspired is Chiefs rookie linebacker Dee Ford, who the team selected with the 23rd overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft from Auburn. The Chiefs have retired Derrick Thomas’ uniform No. 58, but the number he wore in college (No. 55) was available. So, Ford jumped at the opportunity to wear it.

“The opportunity presented itself, Ford told Rachel Santschi of the Chiefs’ official site. I’d play at any number, but of course 55 came available. This is Derrick Thomas’ college number. It’s all good. I’m not trying to be Derrick Thomas, but he’s a guy that definitely inspired me. The opportunity presented itself, so I took it.”

In his final year at Auburn, Ford recorded 29 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and was a First Team All-SEC member.

Ford obviously isn’t trying to be Derrick Thomas, but if he can come close the Chiefs will look pretty smart selecting him with their first round draft pick.

H/T Eye on Football

Auburn DE Dee Ford: I’m better than Jadeveon Clowney

Dee-Ford-AuburnWhile most people are talking about players like Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel at the NFL Scouting Combine, guys like Auburn defensive end Dee Ford feel that they are flying under the radar. Ford recorded 10.5 sacks last season and established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the country. Clowney, who faced a lot more double-teams, finished the year with only three sacks.

Ford will likely be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in May, but he won’t be drafted ahead of Clowney. He thinks he should be, as he stated in an interview with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM over the weekend.

“I’m better. Let’s put it like this — people like to talk about size all the time. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes,” Ford said, via Eye on College Football. “You can look at guys like Robert Mathis, Elvis Dumervil,Von Miller. These are 6-2 guys and under. People are just looking at the fact that (Clowney is) a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market basically.

“I play with a lot of technique. I watch a lot of film. These are the things I do and it shows up.”

In other words, Ford feels that Clowney relies strictly on his freak athleticism. He may be right to an extent, but you can’t teach size, speed and strength. That’s why NFL teams tend to focus on those things and assume they can refine a player’s game when needed.

Clowney ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine on Monday, which is incredible for a 275-pound lineman. That said, even his college coach has raised questions about his work ethic. Clowney will either be boom or bust in the NFL. Someone like Ford could be a steal later in the first round.