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Dee Ford set to meet with Patriots and Buccaneers

Auburn defensive end Dee Ford has visits scheduled with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although if Ford is drafted in the first-round range expected by draft experts, it's tough to imagine the pass-rushing standout landing with at least one of them in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Buccaneers hold the No. 7 overall pick, well in front of where Ford is projected to be drafted. In fact, the Bucs' second draft pick (No. 38 overall) might be closer to where Ford lands than its first. NFL Media analysts Charles Davis and Bucky Brooks project Ford to be chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 24 pick, while analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees Ford going to the New Orleans Saints at No. 27.

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That's a lot closer to the Patriots' first-round neighborhood. New England picks at No. 29, though it might have to move up a few spots with a trade if it ultimately targets Ford. If pass rushers are as much of a draft premium as NFL personnel executives lead us to believe, it's hard to imagine one of the draft's top three defensive ends lasting until the end of the first round. Jadeveon Clowney, of course, will be one of the first picks off the board. After that, Ford and Missouri's Kony Ealy figure to be in an intriguing race to be the second defensive end chosen, though the third probably won't have to wait very long.

NFL draft analyst Dan Kadar confirmed the visits for Ford via Twitter.

But with Ford impressing scouts everywhere from game film to the Senior Bowl to Auburn's pro day, you can bet there will be plenty more.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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