NFL Analysis


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Jaylan Ford 2024 NFL Draft: Combine Results, Scouting Report For New Orleans Saints LB

Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford
Texas Longhorns linebacker Jaylan Ford (41) celebrates a defensive stop during the Sugar Bowl College Football Playoff semifinals game against the Washington Huskies at the Caesars Superdome on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 in New Orleans, La. (Austin American Statesman/USA TODAY-Sports)

The 2024 NFL Draft is getting close, making it an excellent time to highlight some of the class' best players with scouting reports. Each report will include strengths, weaknesses and background information. 

Here's our report on Jaylan Ford.


  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 240
  • 40-yard dash: 4.72
  • 10-yard split: 1.66
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.24
  • Vertical jump: 33 1/2"
  • Broad jump: 10-foot-6
  • Arm length: 33 1/4"



  • A good-sized stacked linebacker who showed some pop as a tackler in the run game and displays a physical component to his game at times 
  • Had run-game snaps in which he read the offensive line blocking and flow of the play, scraping decisively and cleanly to the ball 
  • Flashed at times the play recognition and reaction to attack downhill in the run game; this must be part of his game
  • On some run-game snaps, he read the play design and blocking scheme and then cleanly shot a gap into the backfield 
  • Did a good job sinking and getting depth in zone coverage while remaining aware of routes in front of him 
  • Played with good route recognition in underneath zone coverage and was disciplined in his drops and reactions 
  • A strong part of his game was making tackles when dropping in underneath zone coverage by rallying up to the receiver.


  • He's not a higher-level athlete. His speed is average, and he lacks the recognition anticipation to compensate for it. 
  • There were run-game snaps in which he was a beat slow to key and diagnose correctly, pointing to slow reaction time.
  • Showed a tendency to hesitate in his recognition and reaction in the run game with long processing times
  • Did not trigger with short-area explosiveness in the box; there was not a snap to movement in a confined space 
  • Did not show a higher level inside-out, sideline-to-sideline range
  • Not a sudden, twitchy athlete, but more methodical

Texas Longhorns linebacker Jaylan Ford (41) rushes the passer during a game against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on Oct. 21, 2023. (Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports)


Ford has some meaningful athletic limitations as you project and transition him to the next level, but his game has some strengths that could get him on the field early.

Ford is a stacked linebacker who lacks the kind of play speed and sideline-to-sideline range defensive coordinators in the NFL would like. Ford’s tape showed flashes of being a strong stacked box linebacker who could key and diagnose with the needed clarity, reaction speed and flow to the football or shoot gaps and make plays. However, there were too many run-game snaps in which his recognition and reaction were a beat slow, and he does not possess the higher level athleticism and sudden movement to compensate.

Ford was often deployed as a blitzer at Texas, rushing from the inside and outside. Part of evaluating his transition to the league is whether he can do that because it would make him a more valuable player who could conceivably play in some sub packages.

One of Ford's strengths was as an underneath zone coverage defender with excellent awareness of routes, eye discipline and rally quickness to the ball. That could get him on the field in sub-defenses despite his lack of desired athleticism. He may be comparable to Ja’Whaun Bentley of the Patriots. Bentley weighs a little more than Ford but Ford’s athletic testing is slightly better. Bentley came out of Purdue in 2018 as a fifth-round pick and became a starter out of his rookie training camp.


Ford played four years at Texas with 29 starts in 49 career games. He was a First-Team All-Big 12 selection in 2022 and 2023.

Ford was almost exclusively a stacked linebacker in the Texas defense, but there were snaps, especially on third down in which he lined up on the edge or inside and was deployed as a pass rusher as part of stunt concepts. Ford was also deployed as a blitzer at times, predominantly rushing from the inside. Ford mainly matched up on running backs in Texas' man coverage concepts, and he would green dog if the back was part of the pass protection.