Lonergan was just one of two LSU undrafted free agents that the Bears signed, the other is running back Michael Ford, and he is the topic of today's Q&A.
Windy City Gridiron - What would prompt Ford to turn pro after such an unassuming season last year?
And The Valley Shook - Well, a week ago I would have told you that Ford (and to a degree, Spencer Ware) saw the writing on the wall with Jeremy Hill's emergence in the LSU backfield, and that they would only lose carries next year. But given his recent arrest and suspension*, suddenly that doesn't look like such a sure thing anymore.draftee
The truth is, Ford was something of a limited player in LSU's offense, which puts a premium on hard runners that will finish and backs that are complete players in terms of every down. Ford was just never that here.
* Hill was recently arrested for a bar fight.
WCG - His combine and pro day numbers were very good, did that translate to his play on the field?
ATVS - Ford's a real gym rat that hit the weights hard, and all that muscle mass really helped make him an explosive runner. He could accelerate quickly, and LSU liked to use him outside on sweeps and other plays that could take advantage of that. He didn't necessarily have an elite top speed, but he could get there faster than most.
But he never seemed to run for contact as well as a guy with his strength. Yes, Ford was only about 210-215 pounds, but he still struggled to break tackles, even against 180-190-pound cornerbacks.
WCG - He was the primary kick returner for LSU last year, did he play on the other special teams during his three years?
ATVS - Not really, but keep in mind for most of Ford's LSU career the team had guys like Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu returning punts and kicks. No real shame sitting behind guys like that. But Ford did a really good job in 2012 once his opportunity came.
WCG - Ball security can be a make or break issue for young backs struggling to make an NFL roster, did Ford have any problems with fumbles during his LSU career?
ATVS - Somewhat. The bigger issue is that he was never much of a receiver or blocker in the passing game.
WCG - Do you think Ford has what it takes to stick in the NFL?
ATVS - It would be a surprise, but I'm certainly rooting for him. The Bears could be a good fit for Ford though, because there really isn't that speed counter-punch to Matt Forte and Michael Bush. If he works hard on special teams, maybe he can find a way on to the field as a change-of-pace type of back?
Thanks again to Billy Gomila of And The Valley Shook!
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