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Senior Bowl weigh-in: Texas DT Poona Ford's talent rises above stature

The shortest man in the trenches at the Senior Bowl has some big credits to his football resume.

University of Texas defensive tackle Poona Ford measured just 5 foot, 11 1/2 inches Tuesday morning at the weigh-in and measurement session for the annual all-star game.

He was the only offensive or defensive lineman under 6-feet tall, a fact he considers a badge of honor.

"I was always told I was too short," Ford tweeted last month when he was named Big 12 Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Ford is projected to be a second- or third-round draft pick at this early stage in the draft assessment, and he could be a prospect the Buffalo Bills consider. Defensive tackle is a need position for the Bills.

The Tuesday morning weigh-in is a "meat-market" element of the draft process, in which prospects parade on a stage in only gym shorts to be measured and assessed.

Ford was one of the more interesting cases. While he's short of stature, he has relatively long arms for his position, a positive trait for defensive tackles in disengaging from blocks. Ford's arms are 32 6/8 inches and his wingspan measured 80 2/8 inches. Those numbers were longer than any of the centers at the Senior Bowl, and the wingspan was longer than all but one of the eight guards in the game. The wingspan was longer than most of the 6-4 defensive ends.

The ability to get off blocks and good quickness helped Ford get 18.5 tackles for loss for the Longhorns.

He's a prospect to watch this week.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield measured in at 6-foot and 3-8ths inches tall. That's somewhat of a big deal in the minutia-obsessed world of draft analysis because there was a lot of speculation that Mayfield's true height was under 6 feet. Mayfield weighed in at 216 pounds. Mayfield still ranks as a "short" QB, but he doesn't have the stigma of being under 6 feet, for whatever that's worth.

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is every bit as big as advertised. The top-five draft candidate measured 6-5 (actually 6-4 and 7/8ths) and 237 pounds.

Allen also had the largest hand size among quarterbacks, at 10 1/8 inches. Nebraska's Tanner Lee, a late-round or free-agent prospect, also had 10 1/8-inch hands. Among the other QB hand sizes: Washington State's Luke Falk (9 3/8), Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph (9 1/8), Western Kentucky's Mike White (9 3/8) and Virginia's Kurt Benkert (9 5/8).

The shortest player at any position was Miami receiver Braxton Berrios, at 5-8 1/2 and 177 pounds. He's viewed as a late-round or free-agent prospect.

Day One: The practice sessions for the North and South teams Tuesday were focused on installing the plays for Saturday's games, and players did not play in full pads. The practices Wednesday and Thursday will be in full pads and figure to offer a the best guage of player performances.

Trade chart: Former Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson created a famous draft-pick trade value chart in the early 1990s that long has been used as a guide for trading picks. The No. 1 overall pick is worth 3,000 points. The No. 16 pick is worth 1,000 and the No. 28 pick is worth 660. Various updates have been made to the chart over the years. Bills General Manager Brandon Beane said the Johnson chart still is widely used as a guide. But he said it all depends on supply and demand. If there's great demand to move up, the cost rises.

"There's so many charts," Beane said. "The problem is people have come up with their own charts, when you call on draft day, especially. They say, well, we're using this. I think the baseline is still the Jimmy Johnson. Everybody has their own value. At the end of the day, anything that's for sale, it's only for sale if somebody is willing to move it."

Bills visits: Western Kentucky QB Mike White said he met with Buffalo senior college scout Dennis Hickey Sunday. Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph said he has plans to meet with Buffalo. The Bills will meet with virtually all of the quarterbacks and top prospects over the next two months.

"We're talking to a lot of players here," Beane said. "But between now and the combine and the visits and all that we'll cover a wide gamut of guys."

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