The Buffalo Bills selected Cody Ford early in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He spoke with the media after the selection:
Q: What’s the plan going forward? Have you already started talking about if you’ll play tackle?
A: We’ve been meeting with the coaches all day. The plan right now is starting off at right tackle.
Q: What is the backstory to him saying before the draft that Buffalo was where he wanted to end up?
A: One of the local reporters came up to me and he was asking me about the process and things. He asked which team I thought would be the best fit and where I wanted to play. I told him, I was like, “I really want to go to Buffalo.” And he was like, “Nobody wants to go to Buffalo.” And I was like, I was just feeling it right now. Me and the o-line coach [Bobby Johnson] really hit it off. We had multiple meetings between the combine and pro day. It was just a great interaction with him. I could just see that this program is headed in the right direction.
Q: Can you elaborate on what Bobby Johnson told you that stuck with you?
A: Mainly, his coaching style kind of resembles the coaching style I’ve been used to. And what he expects from his players is kind of what I bring to the table. And just the family atmosphere here is kind of what really made me be like I want to go to Buffalo.
Q: What are the challenges of stepping into a room that had 14 offensive linemen?
A: We actually just talked to that, him bringing in a good amount of people. One thing he mentioned is that I wouldn’t just be the odd ball since some of them are new and then some of them are still here. He was like, “You’re coming into a great situation being that you won’t just stand out amongst the crowd.”
Q: What are the similarities between Bobby Johnson’s coaching style and his college coaches’ coaching style?
A: So I know back home, coach [Bill Bedenbaugh] really expects every player to bring their best effort. Always fight for everything and make sure that everything you get is earned and not given, and that was the biggest things I saw in coach [Bobby] Johnson.
Q: Can you share a couple of thoughts on Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray?
A: So like I said multiple times, both those guys are great competitors, great leaders and great teammates. They’re both loyal to their offensive line. They’re both loyal to their team. They expect every game to go down as a dog fight, and they like to be in the dog fight. They don’t like anything to just come easy. They like challenges. I know a lot of people put this image on Kyler [Murray] as he’s not a leader, he’s not this that or the other. The guy is such a great leader. If he was there next year, he would probably be a team captain. He would always have my vote.
Q: Will your previous experience of blocking for Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray prepare you to block for a mobile quarterback like Josh Allen?
A: Kyler and Baker like to move around in the pocket. I feel like it gives me a little jump on how I can play to block for Josh going on in the future.
Q: Do you feel like you’re better suited to play outside?
A: For me it’s all about proving myself and proving to people what I can do. For Buffalo allowing me to start out at right tackle, giving me a chance to prove myself and prove my athleticism and everything I can prove at the tackle position to everybody else is a great honor. And then if need be, if they need me inside then I’ll move inside, because I’m here to win football games.
Q: Do you laugh at scouting reports that take it upon themselves to list you as a guard?
A: I don’t really laugh at it. I read it, I hear them, but obviously my whole last season was all at tackle. I don’t see what there was not to see about me playing that still holds me or limits me to a guard. A lot of them say because of the conference I was in. Playing in the Big 12 is, to me, is no different than playing in the SEC. The Big 12 is just another conference. The conference doesn’t make the player in my opinion.
Q: Brandon Beane said last night that there was even discussion about potentially getting up into the bottom of the first round to draft you. When you hear that, how does that make you feel? That’s obviously a compliment to your abilities.
A: It shows me how much faith they have in me and how much belief they have in me to almost make that jump and go back into the first round and come get me.
Q: Cody, you mentioned that at Oklahoma, you mentioned the fact that you kind of came up with that group which really contributed to the great chemistry that you guys built. Kind of the same situation here with the load of offensive linemen that the Bills have brought in. Do you look at that as kind of the same situation – that you guys have the opportunity to come up together and build that chemistry from start to finish?
A: I definitely do. I actually thought about that question yesterday. I was like, “This is a good situation.” Being able to come in with guys who are firsts in the system just like me will put us at a great opportunity to learn together and build together.
Q: Cody, going back to 2016 when you finally got a chance to start, what did you learn from yourself in rehabbing from that injury and seeing how you bounced back from it?
A: The biggest thing I learned was not to take every snap for granted. You never know when something could go wrong in the blink of an eye. I had no anticipation of getting hurt that game. I’m sure everybody that gets hurt doesn’t plan on getting hurt. After rehab and going through rehab, I was just like, “From now on, every snap, I’m just giving it my all because you never know what can happen next.”
Q: Oklahoma had four players drafted on the o-line. I don’t know if that’s a first, but that doesn’t happen much. Did you guys feel like you had something special this year? What does that do for you playing with that much talent?
A: We definitely did something special. The group that we had there last season was so amazing. Even the guys who were not drafted this year, the guys who are still there and the guys who were there before us, had so much to contribute to last year’s group. That group last year – Dru [Samia], Ben [Powers], Bobby [Evans], and myself – we all just got drafted. It’s all thanks to our o-line coach and our head coach, coach [Lincoln] Riley, coach [Bill] Bedenbaugh and even coach [Bob] Stoops for bringing us in in the first place. Without them, that group doesn’t exist. Without them, we’re not here where we are today. We have so much to be thankful for when it comes to them and [helping] our careers, especially coach Bedenbaugh. He invested so much time in us and so much belief in us that we owe it to him. Everything that we get is basically because of him. We had to do the work, but we had to follow a guide and he gave us that guide.
Q: The switch to tackle this year after playing guard seemed like a pretty smooth transition. Did it feel as smooth as it was? When they told you, “Look, we’re putting our five best [offensive linemen] out there, so we need you to play at tackle,” were you not worried about it? Did you have any doubts about it?
A: I was a little worried, mainly because I was going from guard to tackle. I felt like early on, there was going to be struggles with certain things in terms of techniques, going up against a different kind of a player as opposed to being on the inside. I made the move in the spring, and that’s when the struggles really showed up, especially day one. But going through the summer and then getting to fall camp, it felt normal. I felt like that was the right move for me and the best move at the time.
Q: What would you say was your most memorable game at Oklahoma?
A: For me, I would probably say definitely winning that fourth Big 12 Championship. We played [the University of] Texas in round two. They beat us in Dallas in round one. They kind of got away with that win. I feel like they didn’t really do too much in that game. But winning that fourth ring, beating a team who beat us earlier in the season, feels so amazing.
Q: How about the plant-flag game? You played that whole game, right?
A: No, I actually started that game but got a concussion midway through.
Q: Cody, Frank Gore started his career when you were eight-years-old and LeSean McCoy when you were about 12. What do you remember about watching them and knowing that you’re going to be blocking for two guys who could be in the Hall of Fame someday?
A: Actually, when I was taking my tour of the facilities, I was in the locker room. I looked to my right and there was Frank Gore’s locker. I was like, “That’s crazy.” I remember playing on the video games with him, watching him as I was growing up and hearing his name all my life. To finally be on a team with him is so surreal at this moment.
Q: Cody, did you talk to Kyler [Murray] at all leading up to the Draft? And if so, did you get a feel for how anxious he was to be selected with the no. 1 overall pick?
A: We seldom talked leading up to the Draft. Never about what was going to happen, never about what he expected to happen in the Draft. More so, it was just wishing each other good luck. You know, normal conversations that we would’ve had if we were still at Oklahoma.