Former Denver Broncos cornerback Mike Ford signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
Ford was a regular special teams contributor for the Broncos last season. He played a total of 240 special teams snaps.
However, he played a minimal role on defense. Last season, Ford played a career-low 13 defensive snaps. In coverage, he was targeted five times and allowed four receptions for 32 yards, according to Pro Football Reference.
ALL the latest Broncos news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Broncos newsletter here!
Ford Will Add Depth Atlanta’s Secondary
Ford began his career with the Detroit Lions. The Lions signed Ford as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
In 2018, Ford saw a significant amount of playing time for an undrafted rookie. He started four games, and he received a total of 316 defensive snaps. He finished the season with 25 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass defended.
However, his coverage numbers were not great. On 37 targets, he allowed 25 completions for 443 yards, one touchdown, and a pass rating of 117.3.
In his second season, Ford saw his playing time dwindle. He appeared in 15 games, but he played in only 166 defensive snaps.
However, his coverage statistics did slightly improve in 2019. On 19 targets, Ford allowed nine completions for 114 yards, two touchdowns, and pass rating of 101.6.
In 2020, Ford remained with the Lions, but he played an even smaller role. On August 30, 2021, the Lions waived Ford. He was claimed by the Broncos.
Although the Broncos rarely used Ford on defense, he has started games in the NFL at cornerback, and he has not gotten an opportunity to play a significant role since his rookie season.
He will add depth to a relatively thin secondary. Cornerback A.J. Terrell was phenomenal last season; he had a PFF grade of 82.6, which was the second-highest among cornerbacks. The Falcons also signed veteran cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. to a two-year, $11 million deal this offseason.
However, there is a clear drop-off on the depth chart behind those two players. 2018 second-round pick Isaiah Oliver looked good in four games last season, but in 2020, he had a PFF coverage grade of 53.3.
2021 fifth-round pick Avery Williams has potential. He has top-level speed; he ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at Boise State’s Pro Day.
Nevertheless, he will need some time to develop. In 2021, he allowed a pass rating of 123.8 when targeted.
Ford will give the Falcons another option at a position of need.
Cornerback Is a Draft Need for the Broncos
Cornerback has become an under-the-radar draft need for the Broncos. The top of their depth chart is seemingly locked in with Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby, K’Waun Williams on the roster, but behind those three players, the team does not have much depth.
In fact, Essang Bassey and Michael Ojemudia are the only other cornerbacks on the Broncos’ roster right now. Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller remain free agents, but it seems highly unlikely for either of those players to come back. I would not be surprised to see the Broncos target a cornerback late in the draft.