University of Texas

Texas’ Poona Ford impresses at pro day after combine snub

Poona Ford (95) was the Big 12's defensive lineman of the year in 2017.
Poona Ford (95) was the Big 12's defensive lineman of the year in 2017. Special to the Star-Telegram

Texas coach Tom Herman stated what many around the football industry have wondered about throughout this year’s draft process.

“Why Poona Ford wasn’t invited to the combine, I’ll never know,” Herman said.

At this point, it doesn’t matter.

Ford has made the most of the opportunities presented to him. He had a sack in each the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, and continued to impress during Texas’ pro day Wednesday with all 32 teams in attendance.

Ford had a 9-foot, 3-inch broad jump and 7.4-second time in the three-cone shuttle. Each would have been among the top-five of all defensive tackles at the combine.

He went on to bench press 225 pounds 24 times and leaped 29 inches.

“We had a feeling he was going to do well today, and he did,” said his agent Murphy McGuire. “He was kind of a man among boys there in position drills, so I think he did very well for himself today. It solidified for some teams the notion that this guy is a draft-able player and a guy who is going to fit into whatever team it may be.”

Ford had the college credentials. This is a guy who earned Big 12 defensive lineman of the year and first-team All-Big 12 honors last season.

Ford finished last season with 1.5 sacks, 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a blocked field goal.

Still, he ranked among the biggest snubs from the combine. The biggest knock on him is his height – he measured in at 5-foot-11 5/8 at the Senior Bowl.

But he has a massive wingspan of 80 1/4 inches.

Either way, Ford knows he belongs in the NFL. After all, there have been a number of shorter defensive linemen have success in the pros.

“I feel pretty confident,” Ford said. “I feel like I’m the most ready defensive tackle in the draft to come in right away and play.”

As far as the combine snub, Ford has moved past it. He’s proved doubters wrong before and seemed to do it once again Wednesday.

“I’m used to being at a disadvantage,” Ford said. “I’m a strong person and I use that to my advantage. God don’t give his biggest battles to the weakest person.”

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