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Cody Ford film analysis: A road grader and a team player

Ford might have the strongest grip in this rookie class.

Offensive tackle might be the strongest position group in the 2019 NFL Draft. For the Buffalo Bills, we’ve already profiled Jonah Williams and Jawaan Taylor as potential upgrades to their offensive line. Today let’s look at Oklahoma Sooners right tackle Cody Ford. What does he do well? What can he improve? Let’s dive into the film.

Cody Ford is an absolute mauler. He has incredible paw power. If he latches onto a dude with his hands, he’ll pull them apart like a grizzly bear. Once his hands are on a defender in pass protection, it’s all over.

Overall, I feel that Ford was very well-coached in college. He stays balanced in pass protection, uses a few different hand-fighting techniques (including a few examples of a snatch and trap), and he’s rarely fooled outright by a defender. Ford plays with great awareness, pointing out blitzers or weird defensive fronts for his teammates. He looks for work and doubles up with his partners on blocks.

Ford’s motor is incredible. He wants to destroy his opponent on every play, preferably ending it by slamming them into the dirt. I’ll see him run with the running back thirty yards downfield, seeing if he can land one more blocking opportunity.

Ford’s kick slide needs significant work. It’s more of a gallop, keeping him susceptible to high speed, changes of direction, and speed-to-power moves. Factoring in that he’s only 6’4”, it can be all too easy for him to give up the edge if facing a speed rusher.

My biggest issue with Ford is that he’s not effective with pulling or landing a block on the second level. He gives great effort, but he’s slow coming across the line and has trouble squaring up his opponents in the chest. I think he just has trouble controlling his body within that small space. This guy is balanced and fast, but struggles to synchronize the upper and lower body on blocks away from home.

Oklahoma used a lot of these double-pull runs where RG Dru Samia and RT Ford would come across the line. Usually, if they paid off, it was more a function of the runner’s breakaway speed than the well-executed blocking. Ford could handle a guy if one was in his space, but lining up that block was always a challenge.

Many draft analysts have projected Ford, who played right tackle for the Sooners, to move inside and play guard. While I think you could keep Ford on the outside, I believe his skill set would flourish at guard and potentially turn him into an All-Pro player. His incredible physicality would open running lanes, he would compensate for the limitations with his movement, and his well-honed experience with combination blocks would pay greater dividends when he could help either the center or the tackle.

I’ve graded Ford at the low end of the first round if he plays tackle, or solidly in the first round as a guard. If the Bills trade back (or trade up from round two), this is a player who could start for them from day one.

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