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NFL Draft 2013: LSU's Michael Ford will forgo senior season

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LSU running back Michael Ford declared for the NFL Draft after rushing for just 392 yards and three touchdowns off 71 carries during his junior season. He had success as a kick returner, however, which could potentially make him a late-round pick.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

LSU running back Michael Ford will be entering the 2013 NFL Draft before his senior season with the Tigers. He rushed for just 392 yards and three touchdowns off 71 carries this past season, and was never able to garner a starting role playing behind Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard and Jeremy Hill.

Ford was much more productive during his sophomore season, rushing for 756 yards to lead the Tigers, adding seven touchdowns. He benefited from a one-game suspension to Spencer Ware, however, and in the 2012 offseason Ford was nearly ruled ineligible due to academic problems. He fell down the depth chart due to struggles with pass protection, fumbles and pass-catching.

There's no question that Ford could entice pro scouts with his physical attributes, however. He was arguably the fastest running back on the LSU roster, and sports a solid 5'10, 215-pound frame. Ford showed off his speed as a kick returner, averaging 27.5 yards per return last year. His season-long of 86 yards came against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the last game of the regular season.

Ford's unpolished skills may very well drop him into the lower rounds of the draft. But teams in need of special teams help and a change-of-pace back may take a flyer on the speedster. The Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and/or Denver Broncos are examples of teams that could use some dynamism in their backfield to complement aging or dinged-up workhorses.