After totaling eight carries over two games as a rookie in 2022, Jerome Ford enters the 2023 preseason as the presumptive backup to Nick Chubb. That role used to go to Kareem Hunt in the past, and usually that meant roughly 10 or 12 touches per game. Ford has good enough size and power with solid speed, plus he proved in college he could reel in targets. Because he hasn't had an opportunity to play yet in the pros, his Fantasy value is awfully cheap, which means as backup running backs go he's a good value with a pick after Round 12, especially for those who take Chubb with an early-round pick.
Ford spent 2022 buried on the Browns’ depth chart behind RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. He contributed essentially nothing on offense but did serve as an effective kick returner.
With Hunt no longer in the picture, Ford is the favorite to be the RB handcuff to Chubb in 2023 and should be considered a decent speculative bench stash in fantasy.
What We Learned Last YearFord was selected by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and spent his rookie season primarily serving as a kick returner.He only registered eight carries for 12 rushing yards on offense and didn’t post any meaningful fantasy numbers to speak of.Ford appeared in just 13 games last year due to suffering an ankle injury that briefly landed him on IR.As a collegiate athlete, Ford spent two seasons at Alabama between 2018-19 before transferring to Cincinnati in 2020. He only had one season as a starter in 2021, but he was pretty darn good that year:215 carries1,319 rushing yards (led the AAC)21 receptions220 receiving yards20 total TDsFord checked into the NFL Combine in 2022 at 5’10½, 210 pounds, and ran a 4.46-second 40-yard time.
What to Expect in 2023Though he didn’t see much opportunity last year, former teammate RB Kareem Hunt was not retained by the Browns this offseason and is still currently a free agent. With Hunt gone, Ford is the favorite to be the No. 2 behind Nick Chubb on the depth chart.Early reports out of camp indicate that the coaching staff is fully behind the belief that Ford is ready to step into a ‘much larger role’ in the Browns’ offense, too.We don’t expect much from the second-year back, given how much of a workhorse that Chubb has been for the Browns in his career, but Ford could be a viable fantasy asset if injury opens up an opportunity for him.Ford is a fine speculative add as a handcuff RB in a strong running game.
Ford was selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2022 draft but was limited to eight carries on 13 snaps during his rookie season. The Cincinnati product is positioned for a larger role in his second season, as he competes to replace Kareem Hunt as the No. 2 back behind Nick Chubb. Ford has a good size/speed profile and his overall collegiate efficiency was good, though it did drop off a bit in his final season (2021) and he didn't see much work in the passing game. Ford is only worth late-round consideration in deep leagues, but he'll have some insurance appeal if he locks down No. 2 duties.