Is Dee Ford the Best Value at Defensive Line?

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Dee Ford was traded to the 49ers this offseason after a career year in 2018. Even after such a big year, he is still being overlooked.


Dee Ford is coming off of a 2018 season where he set a career high in virtually every category. Ford is entering his age 28 season and seems like he has finally reached his potential. His ability to get to the quarterback last year earned him his first Pro Bowl invite. With where he is being drafted, Dee Ford is the best value at the defensive line that you can get.

2018 Season

Dee Ford had a career year in 2018 setting career highs across the board. His career high in total tackles jumped from 38 to 55. The work that Dee Ford did behind the line of scrimmage was amazing set career highs as well in sacks with 13, tackles for a loss with 13, forced fumbles with a league-leading 7, and QB hits with a whopping 29. Those 29 QB hits really grab my attention. Though he only converted 13 sacks, the 29 QB hits show that there was potential for much more. This career year led to Ford’s first invitation to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. Watch all his sacks from 2018 here:

Dee Ford Vs. Frank Clark

Dee Ford was in the final year of his contract with the Kansas City Chiefs going into the 2019 season. The Chiefs decided to send him to the 49ers for a mere 2020 2nd round draft pick. The 49ers then gave Dee Ford a five year $85,000,000 deal. The Chiefs then traded a 2019 1st round pick, a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 3rd round pick swap in 2019 for Frank Clark. That seems like a lot after what they just got for Dee Ford, especially if you compare the two seasons they had side by side. They even gave Frank Clark a 5 year $104,000,000 deal after the trade, almost $20,000,000 more than Ford got and is only two years younger.

2018 Side by Side Comparison

Let’s compare the 2018 season that Frank Clark and Dee Ford had. Both had career years in 2018 though it seemed that Ford had a better season. One reason for this is because Ford had so much other pass rush talent on his team. The Chiefs last year had both Justin Houston and Chris Jones to go along with Ford. Frank Clark had zero other pass rush talent on the Seahawks so he required virtually all the attention from the offensive line. He was hoping that he would get the same love coming to Kansas City but of that group, Chris Jones is the only man left and is moving from defensive end to defensive tackle.

Frank Clark in 2018 finished with 41 tackles (33 solo tackles), 10 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, two passes defended, one interception, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 27 QB hits. Dee Ford finished with 55 tackles (42 solo tackles), 13 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 29 QB hits. Both guys will likely at least match their 2018 production. Frank Clark comes into a situation where he is not the only pass rusher on the team and Chris Jones will require some offensive line attention. Here is one glimpse of the Dee Ford strip sack ability:

 

Dee Ford enters a similar situation to the one he was in for 2018. Dee Ford joins a 49ers team with an elite pass rusher up the middle in DeForest Buckner and a great pass rush talent off the edge in Nick Bosa. There is too much talent on this line to focus on one player.

Character Issues

Dee Ford does not carry any character issues with his name. Frank Clark, on the other hand, carries a domestic violence charge for hitting his possibly pregnant girlfriend in a hotel room argument. This happened in 2014 while Clark was a Senior at the University of Michigan and was dismissed from the team. It is quite strange for the Chiefs to trade for somebody with this type of past considering the recent issues the team has had with similar instances with Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. Ford has great character and yet another reason why the Chiefs’ decisions between the two defensive ends still confuses me. Even on the field Clark has had his share of questionable moves, here is one of them:

Conclusion

Based off of both players breakouts in 2018 I would still choose Dee Ford here. He enters a situation in which he is all too familiar with having a great defensive line. Both have been given five-year extensions and Ford’s contract is $20,000,000 cheaper. When you are looking fantasy wise at drafting, Frank Clark has an ADP of 121.75 and is the DL12. Dee Ford in comparison has an ADP of 216.25, almost 100 spots later, and the DL26. At that price tag with such similar production, I am taking Dee Ford all day.

Comparable ADP Value- Dee Ford ADP 216.25 and DL26 on IDPGuys.com

Carlos Dunlap- Cincinnati Bengals: Current ADP 215.25 and DL24 on

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Carlos Dunlap did not have a poor season by any means in 2018. He finished the season with 47 tackles (31 solo tackles), eight tackles for a loss, eight sacks, eight passes defended, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Dunlap is being drafted right along the same line and actually two defensive linemen ahead of Dee Ford even though Dee Ford outproduced Dunlap in every major statistical category outside of passes defended. Carlos Dunlap is also two years older than Ford and is entering his year 30 season. With Dee Ford’s situation, he is entering in San Francisco and Dunlap still stuck in Cincy and aging, Dee Ford should be the no brainer pick.

Everson Griffen- Minnesota Vikings: Current ADP 134.75 and DL14 on

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Everson Griffen had a 2018 season that was disrupted by his own mind. Griffen had been dismissed from the Vikings and not allowed back last season until he underwent a mental health evaluation. Griffen had been bursting out irrationally at practice and coaches said he needed to get his head straight. Griffen missed weeks 3-7 before returning week eight.

Everson Griffen is entering his year 32 season and his 10th year in the NFL. There was not a single season in those previous nine that Griffen was able to match the numbers Dee Ford put up in 2018. That leaves me to believe he will never reach those numbers. The fact that Griffen is going over 80 picks before Ford and 12 defensive linemen earlier is astounding. Ford is easily the better pick over Griffen.

Nick Bosa- San Francisco 49ers: Current ADP 176 and DL19

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Now we take a look at Dee Ford’s running mate Nick Bosa. Bosa is touted as one of the most can’t miss prospects in quite some time and the 49ers got lucky landing him at #2 overall. Nick Bosa missed most of his Senior season at Ohio St. due to a bilateral core injury that required surgery. He then had a slight hamstring strain during OTA’s with the 49ers already. Bosa is said to be the better Bosa of the two brothers. If that is true than watch out NFL.

Unlike his brother Joey though, Nick was not able to showcase his ability in his Senior season and is already missing time with a soft tissue injury. Dee Ford, on the other hand, is taking first-team reps and is in great shape. I spoke of this on our recent IDPGuys Podcast how I prefer Ford. I am very high on Bosa but would rather grab Ford seven lineman and 40 picks later to get similar production.

Conclusion

For Dee Ford to be dropping all the way to 216 is atrocious. Wake up draftees, Dee Ford was a stud in 2018 and should not see much change this year. Similar to the players I’ve mentioned above, as well as Leonard Williams (DL20), Melvin Ingram (DL17), Olivier Vernon (DL15) going before him is just hurtful to Ford. Had Ford been listed as a defensive end last season he would have finished close to top 5 at his position. With a defensive end designation this season and a similar situation, getting Ford at DL26 is every fantasy owners dream.

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I have played IDP 6 YRS, fantasy for 10. Writing for the greater good of IDP, if it's not IDP it's not fantasy football.