49ers 2020 ‘Who Is?’ series: Dee Ford in final year with Niners?

Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Dee Ford, Arik Armstead, Kirk Cousins, 49ers, Vikings
Dee Ford #55 and Arik Armstead #91 of the San Francisco 49ers pressure Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

Why Dee Ford improves with 49ers in 2020

Again, injuries played a key role in Dee Ford’s total impact last season. In total, he was on the field for just 226 defensive snaps in 2019, which was a shade below 22 percent in total of these.

From a simple cost analysis, Ford earned $70,409 per snap last season.

Yet the Niners were significantly more effective in the pass rush when Ford was on the field. According to NextGen Stats (h/t CBS Local), San Francisco’s pressure rate was 34.2 percent with Ford on the field compared to just 22.7 percent when he wasn’t.

This evidence suggests the 49ers defense is notably better with the dual pass-rushing tandem of Ford and Nick Bosa, and the former’s limited availability late in the season helps explain why the defense wasn’t quite as effective down the stretch leading into the playoffs.

Ford had a knee procedure to clean up some tendinitis in his knee during the offseason, and the expectation is he’ll perform much better on the field than he did in what he phrased a “blown tire” in 2019.

If that’s the case, Ford’s production could come close to equalling what he enjoyed back in 2018 with the Chiefs, ultimately benefiting both Bosa and the rest of San Francisco’s defensive front.

But what if it doesn’t happen?