Miami Dolphins WR Isaiah Ford: ‘Getting open is a gift’

Isaiah Ford has a solid shot to make the Miami Dolphins roster. (Getty Images)

Isaiah Ford has more talent than the typical seventh-round draft choice and he surely has more confidence.

“Getting open is a gift,” Ford said at his rookie news conference in Davie. “If that’s something that you can do, then you can play for a long time.”

Ford topped 1,000 yards in his junior season at Virginia Tech but slipped in the draft largely because of a 4.61 40-yard dash.

“He fell, because probably people said how he should have run faster; but at the end of the day, we just like to draft football players,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “It worked out with Jarvis (Landry). We’ll see if it works out with him.”

Landry was a second-round pick and has emerged as a Pro Bowler on the verge of a mega payday.

Ford will compete for a fourth- or fifth-wide receiver spot on the Dolphins with players like Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, Rashawn Scott and four undrafted rookie free agents: Francis Owusu, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Drew Morgan and Malcolm Lewis.

“To think about going undrafted – or saying no to a phone call or anything like that – never came into my mind because I always felt like all I needed was an opportunity to get my foot in the door, and then I knew I was going to work my tail off,” Ford said.

Ford, 6-feet-1, 194 pounds, was a high school basketball star in Jacksonville.

According to a scouting report by NFL.com, Ford is a “superb athlete,” ‘able to shake press coverage with quick jab step and sudden burst,” who “chomps up cushion with his speed and stems defenders into off-balance transitions and false steps” and “sustains vertical danger throughout his routes.”

It is fascinating to watch a matchup between Ford and Miami’s third-round cornerback, Cordrea Tankersley, in last season’s Virginia Tech-Clemson meeting, posted to youtube by draftbreakdown:

Ford’s negatives?

According to the report, Ford’s slight fame reminds of Justin Hunter, who had a cafe con leche in Miami last season.

Ford is cited for good body control, strong hands and acceleration in and out of breaks. Some scouts have questioned his speed, run after catch and a few dropped passed.

Grier said Miami was surprised Ford was still available so late in the draft. With so much emphasis on defense, it turned out Ford was Miami’s only drafted skill player.

“If you watch Virginia Tech, he was a player that was always kind of the go-to guy,” Grier said. “It was always the plan to stop him. (We) like he’s a very good route runner. He’s a very smart kid when you talk to him, so he really understands leverages, coverages, running routes, finding the open spots in zones. So (we had) the opportunity to add a good player that late in the draft. We were surprised he was still there.”

On the day Ford was drafted, he outlined what he feels are his strengths as a player.

“I think that I’m a playmaker,” Ford said. “I’m someone that can be trusted when a play needs to be made. I’m a great route runner. I love to snatch the ball out of the air or I can catch it and do something when I get the ball in my hands. So anything that needs to be done, I feel like I can come in and work as hard as I can to do it.”

On his first day in Davie, Ford stressed further outlined his expectations for himself.

“I expect to come in, to compete and to work as hard as I can,” he said. “My work ethic is something that I’ve always taken a lot of pride in because I think that’s something that can’t be graded, like a 40-yard dash or a vertical, something like that. You can’t judge work ethic. You can’t judge heart, as well. So those are the two things I pride myself in and that’s what I want to give this organization.”

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