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Auburn DE Dee Ford getting noticed at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. -- Auburn defensive end Dee Ford has been among the bright spots for the Reese's Senior Bowl South squad this week, and the 6-foot-2, 240-pound pass rusher has done nothing but help his NFL draft stock since practices began Monday. One scout told College Football 24/7 that Ford is as explosive an outside pass rusher as any on either Senior Bowl roster, and should make the transition from defensive end to a rush linebacker in the NFL with relative ease.

"Speed rushing is pretty deadly around the (NFL)," Ford said. "Any time you can get around the edge, it sets everything else up."

Ford is among quite a few college defensive ends who will project as linebackers in the NFL, and the Senior Bowl transition hasn't been smooth for all of them. South squad coach Gus Bradley has been impressed with Ford.

"Dee is exciting. I really like his personality. I like his spirit, he loves the game. He showcases that on the practice field," Bradley said. "Any time a guy can come off the edge and show his ability to rush, it really stands out."

NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock likes what he has seen from Ford, too.

"[Ford] has had about as good a week as any edge rusher could expect to have," Mayock said Wednesday on NFL Network. "... I think the 3-4 outside linebacker teams are salivating over him. He's not as long as you would like, but his quickness off the edge is exquisite. I'd love to see an offensive lineman finally get up and block him this week."

The top defender on Auburn's BCS runner-up team missed the first two games of the Tigers' season with a knee injury, and said Wednesday that his 10.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hurries were made with the injury having never fully healed.

"I didn't (feel healthy) the whole year. I'm feeling good now," Ford said. "It was all about getting some rest. You can't get rest during the stretch of the season, it's not going to happen."

As Senior Bowl rules prohibit blitzing, Ford has been practicing with the defensive linemen so that he can show his pass-rush skills in Saturday's game.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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