Canadian quarterback Tre Ford garnering lots of attention from NFL teams

Photo courtesy: Christian Bender/Waterloo Warriors

The NFL interest has come fast and furious for Canadian quarterback Tre Ford after he clocked a 4.45 forty-yard dash and threw well during the University at Buffalo’s pro day.

Since his performance at the Merchie Family Fieldhouse in Western New York on Thursday, March 17 — just over 30 minutes away from his hometown of Niagara Falls — approximately 24 NFL teams have reached out about Ford, according to University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia. Ford has also been invited to the Buffalo Bills local pro day on Friday, April 8.

“It was huge going down and being the fastest quarterback in the draft, that certainly helped,” Bertoia said.

“The teams that are showing interest are the ones that have dual-threat quarterbacks. They want to draft players that have the same capabilities so they don’t have to change the offence.”

Before Ford performed live in front of NFL scouts in Buffalo, Bertoia had Zoom meetings with the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders. Prior to the 2021 U Sports schedule kicking off, which was shortened to six regular season games due to the coronavirus pandemic, a few NFL teams called Bertoia regarding Ford.

“We talked about it with Tre: ‘Your back is really against the wall.’ You’re not six-foot-four, you’re a Black quarterback, you’re Canadian and you played U Sports football — talk about checking all the boxes not necessarily in a good way. However, there’s a positive vibe going on right now about his chances to get an NFL shot,” Bertoia said.

Ford earned the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best player in Canadian university football this past season after completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,770 yards with 12 touchdowns against six interceptions while rushing 66 times for 667 yards (10.1 yards per carry) and three touchdowns in seven games, including one in the playoffs.

The 24-year-old had his best statistical U Sports season in 2018 when he completed 74 percent of his passes for 3,093 yards with 30 touchdowns versus two interceptions while rushing 85 times for 771 yards (nine yards per carry) and four touchdowns in eight regular season games and one in the playoffs.

“I’m super confident in myself, my abilities as a quarterback and an athlete. I knew that I had NFL talent, I feel like I can definitely play there, get in games and compete. It’s ultimately trying to get NFL scouts to see that, but I can’t control that,” Ford said.

“As one scout said to me: ‘In an NFL Draft that doesn’t have the greatest quarterback class, is there any harm that Tre Ford is a value add as a seventh-round pick that we could develop? What are we losing by taking him?'” Bertoia said.

According to sources, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals are considering the possibility of bringing Ford in to develop while also helping the first-team defence prepare to defend Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson — the AFC North Division teams have to play the 2019 NFL MVP twice per season.

The testing metrics are undeniable: Ford is the fastest and most athletic quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft class. He even bested his QB idol Russell Wilson in all of the standard tests except for the shuttle and checked in taller than the Super Bowl winner with a measurement of five-foot, 11-and-a-half inches.

“We match up well against each other. He’s definitely somebody I’ve looked up to in my teen years,” Ford said. “He has one of the best deep balls I’ve ever seen with the touch he has on the ball. I do want to get a chance to meet him and do a jersey swap.”

Wilson was a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft who has helped break down barriers previously put on smaller, athletic Black quarterbacks. Ford has a chance to be chosen or sign an undrafted free agent contract in the NFL due in part to Wilson’s success and he could make Canadian sports history in the process.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.