Seahawks 90-Man Roster Primer: Poona Ford

Since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Ford has made steady improvements in each of his first three NFL seasons and emerged as one of the sport's best young defensive tackles. With Jarran Reed now in Kansas City, will he take another significant leap forward as a pass rusher in 2021?
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With the calendar flipping to July and offseason programs recently wrapping up, NFL training camps will begin around the league in less than a month. To celebrate the new incoming season, we will be breaking down the Seahawks' 90-man roster over the next several weeks, exploring best and worst case scenarios and what to expect from each player entering the 2021 campaign.

Poona Ford, Defensive Tackle

Height/Weight: 5-foot-11, 310 pounds

2020 Stats: 40 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and eight tackles for loss in 16 games

During his first two NFL seasons, Ford quickly emerged as one of the best run stuffing defensive tackles in the NFC thanks in part to an elite first step and quickness splitting gaps. Pro Football Focus gave him an elite 91.5 run defense grade as a rookie in 2018, which ranked fifth among players at the position with at least 215 snaps. In 2019, he finished with a respectable 77.7 grade, finishing 13th out of 74 qualified defensive tackles in that department. Where he had yet to make an impact was as an interior pass rusher, but that changed during Ford's third season as he began to see some reps lined up at the 3-tech position and thrived there. While he was limited to a pair of sacks, he registered a career-high 28 quarterback pressures, including 18 of them as Seattle turned things around defensively in the final eight games. PFF handed him the sixth-best grade (81.9) among defensive tackles with at least 600 snaps, finishing behind established stars Aaron Donald, Cam Heyward, Chris Jones, and DeForest Buckner. Once an undrafted signee out of Texas who was overlooked to due to his lack of height, his outstanding performance earned him a new two-year extension in March.

Best Case Scenario: Continuing to evolve as a pass rusher in his fourth season, Ford turns his success pressuring quarterbacks into actual sacks as Seattle's new starting 3-tech, finishing with a career-high 7.5 sacks and garnering his first career Pro Bowl selection while anchoring the middle of the defensive line.

Worst Case Scenario: While Ford remains a productive starter, his pass rushing success from the second half of the 2020 season proves to be a fluke and as a result, the team struggles to muster much pressure from the interior without the services of former starter Jarran Reed.

What to Expect in 2021: Coming off a breakout season, the Seahawks expect the 25-year old Ford to continue elevating his game in 2021, particularly when it comes to harassing opposing quarterbacks. He will need to take another significant step forward in that regard to help offset the departure of Reed, who averaged more than 6.0 sacks and 15 quarterback hits per year since 2018. If he's able to do that while continuing to be an enforcer against the run, his two-year extension worth up to $14 million will look like a steal for Seattle and one of the team's most popular players may finally receive the national recognition he deserves as one of the most undervalued talents at his position. Undeniably one of the most important defensive players on the roster, he has a prime opportunity to set himself up for a big pay day in the near future while playing a starring role in a possible Super Bowl push.

Previous Seahawks 90-Man Roster Primers

Alex McGough | Darvin Kidsy | Greg Eiland | Joshua Moon | Cam Sutton | Walter Palmore | Jared Hocker | Brad Lundblade | Aashari Crosswell | Myles Adams | Jon Rhattigan | Aaron Fuller | Bryan Mills I Jake Curhan | Jarrod Hewitt | Connor Wedington | Nate Evans | Danny Etling | John Ursua | Gavin Heslop | Pier-Oliver Lestage | Tommy Champion | Cody Thompson | Josh Johnson | Saivion Smith | Jordan Miller | Aaron Donkor | Robert Nkemdiche | Alex Collins | Tyler Mabry | Damarious Randall | Cade Johnson | Cedrick Lattimore | Phil Haynes | Geno Smith | Kyle Fuller | Travis Homer | Tyler Ott | Rasheem Green | Ben Burr-Kirven | Penny Hart | Jamarco Jones | Aldon Smith | DeeJay Dallas | Nick Bellore | Stone Forsythe | Colby Parkinson | Al Woods | Cedric Ogbuehi | Alton Robinson | Jordan Simmons | Pierre Desir | Ryan Neal | Tre Flowers | Michael Dickson | Jason Myers | Freddie Swain | Cody Barton | Bryan Mone | Benson Mayowa | Rashaad Penny | Ugo Amadi | Ethan Pocic | Tre Brown | Darrell Taylor | Will Dissly | Ahkello Witherspoon | Kerry Hyder | Marquise Blair | Brandon Shell | D'Wayne Eskridge | L.J. Collier | Gerald Everett | D.J. Reed | Damien Lewis | Chris Carson | Jordyn Brooks