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What’s in store for Jacob Ford in 2009 and beyond?

My most recent article focused on the talents of William “Big Play” Hayes, the unheralded Winston Salem State alum who appears to be on the verge of becoming a solid defensive end in the not-so-distant future.

Like Hayes, fellow Tennessee Titan DE Jacob Ford also made some noise in 2008. As a matter of fact, Ford was responsible for several more big plays than Hayes in ’08, coming up with seven sacks in an impressive comeback from an Achilles injury that ended his 2007 season before it even began.

Let’s take a closer look at what the future holds for the rising fortunes of emerging Tennessee Titan pass-rusher Jacob Ford.

Similar to Hayes, Ford is also a product of a small college football program. Hailing from tiny Central Arkansas, the same school that produced Michael Jordan’s sidekick Scottie Pippen, Ford was selected by the Titans in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

Despite showing some promise early on in minicamps, Ford’s rookie campaign ended abruptly as a result of the aforementioned season-ending Achilles injury.

Ironically, thanks to injuries suffered by Mr. Energizer Bunny a.k.a. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ford’s opportunity to shine arrived in 2008. Filling in for a hobbled KVB, Ford made his presence felt immediately, stepping up with a stellar two-sack effort in the Titans’ 19-16 victory over the Packers.

In 2009, a healthy KVB should force Ford back to the bench as a situational pass-rusher. However, with Vanden Bosch nearing the end of his deal, Ford may eventually become the team’s future starter at LDE.

Even if his playing time is limited, I’m expecting another solid performance from Ford as he should continue to serve as one of the team’s best pass-rushers.  

What do you guys think? Is Ford the future at LDE?