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Buffalo Bills free agency 2023: Initial analysis of DT Poona Ford

It’s not just the drafted players bringing excitement

NFL: DEC 12 Seahawks at Texans Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re not even over the rush from the 2023 NFL Draft results and Big Baller Beane (aka general manager Brandon Beane) is already making moves to bring excitement to the fan base. The defensive line was a potential area of weakness heading into the draft... where it went completely unaddressed. Well that worked out in the end, as the Buffalo Bills have signed free-agent defensive tackle Poona Ford. Let’s take a look at some film!

Play 1 — Play recognition

The Bills have typically liked players with excellent on-field intelligence, aka “play recognition” or “awareness.” The thing I like most about the play above is that Poona Ford reacted as soon as he saw Christian McCaffrey plant his foot. Ford wasn’t in an advantageous position to make the play, but did well, all things considered, to get free and back into the fray.

Play 2 — Run support

This is another play that may not seem like much, but Ford stayed in good position relative to the block to be able to move to either side if needed. More importantly, he maintained some distance with his arms to help shed. The result was that the ball barrier needed to adjust as he found Ford and company in his way.

Play 3 — Swimming

Ford showed off a couple moves here, setting things up initially to his right side. Ford swatted to create some misdirection then popped back to his left with a swim move. If there wasn’t help here, Poona Ford would’ve been in the backfield very quickly.

Play 4 — Driving

We saw a similar block a couple plays up and this one went even better. Ford not only maintained good position, he drove his opponent back at least a full yard all while keeping that arm extended to burst off if the opportunity arose.

Play 5 — Footwork

Poona Ford was channeling Christian McCaffrey from Play 1 here, planting that foot and driving. Ford added a little tug with his right hand as he moved around, which helped get his opponent off balance, assisting his effort to land the quarterback hit.

Play 6 — Tackling

We see a lot of the traits shown above come together and lead to a tackle. An early chip bumped Ford off position a tiny bit. He recovered, and drove his man back while keeping himself pretty clean. Ultimately, Ford slipped off the block and made the tackle.

Play 7 — Stunt it!

There’s so much to like in this clip I don’t know where to start. Just watch this on repeat 100 times or so.

In summary

If you like such things, check out the spider-chart for Poona Ford here. He’s incredibly short for his position — to the point I could easily revisit my standard deviation series of content. Ford uses that “weakness” to great effect in the football mini-game called “low man wins.” Ford often wins the leverage battle, is plenty strong enough to play in the league, and is a sound technician with quick hands and feet.

Or in other words, if you’ve seen the general excitement from the fan base on Ford and wonder if you should join in the revelry, the answer is an emphatic “yes!”