2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jerome Ford

Jerome Ford

The 2022 NFL Draft will feature a wide variety of talent at the running back position. One name who has fallen down some draft boards despite an impressive resume is Cincinnati’s, Jerome Ford. The former Bearcat running back was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, where he attended Armwood high school. A four-star recruit out of high school, the Tampa, Florida native was the No. 12 running back in the 2018 recruiting class and the No. 66 recruit in the state of Florida. Ford committed to Alabama and played for the Crimson Tide under Nick Saban for two seasons. He redshirted in 2018, while he was behind Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. on the running back depth chart in 2019. 

After his second season, he transferred to Cincinnati, where he found his proper form. In his senior season in 2021, he rushed for 1,319 yards while rushing for 19 touchdowns. He was First Team All-AAC along with the AAC Championship Game MVP. A key factor to Cincinnati’s run in the College Football Playoffs, can the standout running back continue his dominant success at the pro level? Let’s dive into what each team will be looking to get out of Ford.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Jerome Ford
Jersey: No. 24
Position: Running Back
School: Cincinnati
Class: Junior
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 210 Ibs
Games Watched: UCF (2021), Temple (2021), Navy (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Vision (9/15)

Ford shows great ability when cutting and finding open lanes. He understands and realizes how to take advantage of the open holes from his blocks and explodes because of it. As Ford hits that open field, he creates huge runs that leave defenders wondering what they did wrong. However, it can take him a second when finding those big holes. One of the things NFL management will keep a steady eye on with the draft nearing.

Contact Balance (8/10)

Ford makes it very difficult for tacklers to wrap him up. He refuses to go down on first contact, running through arm tackles. He doesn’t let anyone wrap him up quickly, usually bouncing defenders off of him when rushing for a first down and even more. This is something from his skillset that instantly pops out. We see how he balances his run while hitting that contact.

Explosiveness (7.5/10)

He can quickly get to the next level when he decides to get north. He consistently runs with good balance, footwork, and a strong base. Ford has the legitimate home-run speed to take runs the distance when given a crease, but he also has enough awareness to take advantage of the singles and doubles blocked for him.

Long Speed (8.5/10)

He demonstrates his good long speed with a 4.46 40-yard dash time at the combine. He can pull away from defenders and create explosive plays when he gets a runway. Truly a nightmare in the open field. He uses that speed to get right past defenders on his way to an explosive result.

Short-Area Burst (7.5/10)

When you watch Ford play, you see how quickly he can burst into the open field. He hits his top speed soon from his short bursts, resulting in those big plays. This results right with his change of direction. While his vision lacks, his quick and explosive short busts can propel him away from his defenders and into the open field.

Change of Direction (8/10)

Ford has excellent change-of-direction ability. The Cincinnati running back can plant his toes, flip his hips, and leave defenders clutching at the thin air. This also plays in with his vision, seeing when he needs to shift to great an explosive play. Quick feet, which results in lateral agility to make cuts.

Power (8/10)

Ford brings plenty of speed and power to his rushing attacks. He runs with confidence and powers through opposing defenders. Ford demonstrates compact power and keeps his feet moving forward against contest opposition. Despite his average build, Ford has shown an ability to power through contact and keep moving forward until forced to the ground.

Ball Security (5/10)

A more serious concern for NFL teams when looking at Ford’s abilities. While he demonstrates great power when hitting contact with defenders, he sometimes leaves the ball too exposed and increases the odds of it coming loose. Through 316 touches at Cincinnati, he fumbled the ball six times, which is roughly a fumble every 53 touches. The way he handles the ball with contact can be a big concern at the next level.

Receiving Ability (6.75/10)

Ford finished the 2021 season with 21 receptions for 220 yards and a touchdown. Teams who love to attack inside in the running game will like what Ford offers and his ability as a receiver. For teams that are more outside-based (outside zone), it will be determined by how much they believe they can fix their vision. At the Senior Bowl, Ford made catches like this.

Pass Protection (2/5)

Another thing teams will look at Ford is his poor pass protection. He usually comes up with poor technique and below-average strength in the position. It may have been able to slide in the AAC, but the NFL talent will power right through him. While NFL coaching could help Ford improve in this area, there is only so much upside for him in this trait.

Player Summary

In no way is Ford a top touted running back in the class. However, with great footwork and the ability to keep plays alive, teams will look to him later in the draft. He can make that home run play in the open field and can be a star after a couple of years of being groomed in the league. Ford needs to work on his vision and his patience as he lacks consistency. He can be an excellent No. 2 running as he’s more of a creator with the ball in his hands.

Rookie Projections: Role Player

Third Year Projections: Part of a Committee

Final Grade (70.25/100): Fifth-Round Pick

Player Comp: Kareem Hunt

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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