The New England Patriots haven’t addressed their pass-rushing needs in free agency, but they’re showing interest in one of the best defensive end prospects in the 2014 NFL draft.
Auburn pass rusher Dee Ford told SBNation.com on Tuesday that he has a workout scheduled with the Patriots. The 6-foot-2, 252-pound defensive end had 10.5 sacks during his senior season with the Tigers.
The Patriots could be looking for a third pass rusher to rotate with starters Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. They also need a situational player to rush the quarterback from the edge on third down when Jones moves to defensive tackle.
Ford doesn’t have prototypical size for a Patriots defensive end, but he’s built similar to Ninkovich. He ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at his pro day earlier this month with a 7.06-second three-cone drill, 35.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-4 broad jump.
Ford was not allowed to participate in drills at the NFL Scouting Combine because of a preexisting back condition. He had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back in 2011.