Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford saw a slight increase in production in 2015 from his rookie season in 2014, and he'll look to continue that trend into 2016.
Ford was drafted out of Auburn by the Chiefs with the No. 23 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Upon drafting Ford, the Chiefs converted him to an outside linebacker from defensive end, the position he played in college.
Looking ahead to 2016 this offseason, Ford said his new focus is consistency.
"I think anybody can have a great game," he explained, "but what separates the great players from the good players is doing it every week, and now I have an opportunity to do that."
Ford displayed some of the potential he showed at Auburn during the 2015 season, particularly in a close game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium in December.
With Justin Houston out due to injury, Ford saw the bulk of defensive snaps in the game, and he shined, recording a team-high 7 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 passes defensed.
Perhaps the best play of Ford's career came on San Diego's final drive, when he stopped running back Danny Woodhead from making what would have been a game-tying reception in the back of the end zone.
Ford finished the season with 23 tackles (21 solo), 4 sacks and 2 passes defensed.
HOW HE FITS
Like in 2015, Ford should see increased time on the field in 2016.
In 2016, Ford will look to take the next step in his still young career. He has had great mentors in both Hali and Houston, but has said now it's time to make a name for himself.
"I'm not Tamba (Hali) and I'm not Justin (Houston), but I'm learning with them," he said this offseason. "What I'm incorporating is what they do that I don't do is the consistency."
Linebackers coach Gary Gibbs already said he liked what he saw in Ford early this offseason.
"He made some improvement last year and he made some big plays for us down the stretch," he said. "This is obviously a new year. We're just early in the OTA sessions and he's come back stronger and I think he's got better stamina, he's got better strength. It's just a matter of continuing to mature and develop his skill set."
Photo Highlights of Dee Ford