Player 6: Poona Ford, DT
Poona Ford has truly been one of the most exciting players to watch over the last several seasons development-wise. He has become a fan favorite. The underdog to champion sort of mentality. An undrafted free agent who has the chance to become truly special.
Many analysts, including myself, pegged him as a late mid-round pick. Somewhere around rounds 4 to 5. However, the draft came and went, and Poona was left on the board. His short stature (5’11”) was simply something teams couldn’t get over. It didn’t matter he has arms like an orangutan. Or the fact that he is one of the most athletic big men in that draft. It came down to being shorter than the standard.
Fortunately, Seattle lucked out scooping him up as soon as the draft was over. From the first day of practice, teammates have raved about his potential. It looks like they were right. His game has developed significantly from then to now.
He has developed into an every-down defensive tackle. He plays both 1-tech and 3-tech alignments. His agility, strength, and God-given leverage jump off the tape. He looks to be a player every team looks back thinking, ‘how did we miss out on him?’
Ford has always been great at reading the run. However, in year 3 he became dominant in stopping it. Breaking through multiple offensive linemen to blow up the play in the backfield. Throwing 300-pound men to the side like children. The best part, he isn’t even remotely close to his potential. His ceiling is All-Pro level. I can confidently say that.
I think my favorite part about Poona game is his effort. I have always been a sucker for a player who simply lays it all out every play. Whether it’s basketball diving for the ball as it’s going into the stands. Or a 5’11” 310lb defensive lineman chasing down a wide receiver on the second level of the playing field. This is the level of effort that is simply contagious.
I can virtually guarantee you Seattle will just tag a second-round tender on him this off-season. Meaning any team who were to sign him would have to give Seattle a second-round pick. This will be a 1-year of contract around $3 million.
However, I firmly believe this would be a mistake. If Seattle gives Poona just one more season to continue to develop before signing him long-term…. His market value could explode. I am talking about major money.
If Seattle is smart, they will lock Poona down for the foreseeable future now. Avoid what will inevitably be an expensive market and sign him today. Make him a staple of the defensive line for years to come. Officially crown him the underdog who made it.
Market valuation: 4 years, $41 million ($10.25 million per year).
Market comp: Grover Stuart, Colts.
Side note: I firmly believe if Seattle waits until next year to extend him that the $10.25 million average will jump to around $17-$18 million per year. His ceiling is simply that high.