Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Cody Ford has been in a bit of an awkward position during preparations for the 2019 NFL Draft. He played guard and tackle in college and his measurables seem to fit him in at guard in the NFL, but where do teams see him?
How would Ford fit in on the Buffalo Bills and could he be the tackle they need to solidify their unit?
When Sean McDermott first started coaching the Bills and he brought along Rick Dennison’s zone-blocking scheme, the team drafted 6’4”, 315-lb Dion Dawkins as a tackle. His long arms helped him handle defenders around the edge, but he was still a player most analysts pegged as an offensive guard.
Dennison’s gone, Juan Castillo is gone, and now we have a sample size of a half-dozen linemen to suggest to us the prototype Buffalo wants for Brian Daboll and Bobby Johnson’s offense. This doesn’t factor in any players already on the roster, for whom management didn’t have any pressing contract deadlines.
- OT Ty Nsekhe: 6’8” 330 lbs (long arms, but true measurements unknown)
- OT LaAdrian Waddle: 6’6” 315 lbs (arm length unknown)
- OC Mitch Morse: 6’6” 305 lbs, 32.25” arms
- OG/OC Spencer Long: 6’5” 320 lbs, 33.125” arms
- OG Jon Feliciano: 6’4” 323 lbs, 32.375” arms
- OG/OT Jeremiah Sirles: 6’6” 315 lbs (arm length unknown)
At 6’4” and 329 lbs with 34” arms, Ford fits the size prototype Buffalo has looked for at both guard and tackle. He has the bulk to play inside and the long arms to play anywhere on Buffalo’s line. He probably lacks the fluidity for left tackle, but Dawkins can stay there and the Bills can shore up another position with Ford.
There isn’t a clear comparison for Ford, though we have a few candidates. The first is Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson, who measured 6’3” and 336 lbs with 33 3/4” arms at the Combine. He also put up very similar athletic test numbers. Jackson was solely a guard in college and played guard in the NFL. Another similar player is Carolina Panthers right tackle Daryl Williams. The 6’5” 327-lb lineman was projected to play guard in the league because of weak athletic testing, but has held out on the edge so far. Cordy Glenn is another name who comes to mind—a college left tackle, many analysts saw his future at left guard due to his Combine performance, but he’s played on the outside during his time in the NFL. Glenn does outrank Ford in height, weight, arm length, and hand size, though.
Sample play: I Left H-34 BOB (Back on Backer)
This throwback running play is the kind of thing you use in short-yardage situations, where Ford’s strength is most useful. A “back on backer” call is designed to have the linemen blocking linemen and the fullback moving up to the second level to take on the play-side linebacker.
Ford’s responsibility is to combo-block the nose tackle and move up to the second level to take out whichever linebacker ends up in his gap. The runner’s assignment is to run behind the right guard, so the play will succeed because of Ford’s ability to open a hole behind him.
It’s unlikely Ford will be the pick at nine if Buffalo sees him as a guard, limiting his value. If the Bills think he can play both guard and tackle, and can slot him in on the right side in the short or long term, he could be in play.