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90 players in 90 days: offensive lineman Cody Ford

The third-year man has a lot to prove heading into the back end of his rookie deal

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

In two of the first three NFL Drafts in which Sean McDermott was with the Buffalo Bills, the team traded up in the second round to select an offensive lineman. In 2017, the Bills moved up to select Dion Dawkins, who has become a franchise cornerstone protecting the blindside of franchise quarterback Josh Allen.

In 2019, the Bills moved up to select an offensive lineman who some had projected to be a first-round pick. While he slid due to concerns about where he’d play at the professional level, it seemed like a good choice for the Bills, as they needed a big, physical player to solidify the right side of the offensive line.

Rather than solidifying the line, that young man has bounced between positions over his first two seasons, failing to make a big impact along the Bills’ front five. In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile a young player entering a pivotal year.

Name: Cody Ford

Number: 74

Position: OL

Height/Weight: 6’3” 329 lbs.

Age: 24 (25 on 12/28/2021)

Experience/Draft: 3; selected by Buffalo in the second round (No. 38 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft

College: Oklahoma

Acquired: Second-round draft choice

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Ford enters year three of his four-year rookie contract. The total contract value is $7,506,640, of which just over $4 million was guaranteed at signing. For the 2021 season, Ford carries a salary cap hit of $2,047,492, and Buffalo is on the hook for $1,739,988 in dead cap charges if they are to trade or release him.

2020 Recap: Ford began the year as Buffalo’s starter at right guard with Jon Feliciano out with a torn pectoral muscle. When the Bills benched left guard Quinton Spain for veteran Brian Winters, Ford shifted over to left guard with Winters playing on the right side. Ford started the Bills’ first six games, but he left Buffalo’s 26-17 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs with a knee injury. Ford missed the next two games before returning against the Seattle Seahawks, but he left in the first half of that game with an ankle injury. He missed the Bills’ loss against the Arizona Cardinals and was slated to return against the Los Angeles Chargers following the bye week; however, he suffered a torn meniscus in practice and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Ford did not allow a sack and he was called for three penalties in his 383 offensive snaps.

Positional outlook: Ford is competing for either the left guard or the right guard spot, as the right tackle job now belongs to Daryl Williams. Jon Feliciano, Ike Boettger, Forrest Lamp, Steven Gonzalez, Syrus Tuitele, Jamil Douglas, Jordan Devey, and Jack Anderson are all competing along the interior, as is Ryan Bates.

2021 Offseason: Ford is healthy and he participated in OTAs.

2021 Season outlook: I don’t think that we can assume that one of the starting jobs is Ford’s to lose this year, as the team clearly values Feliciano and they liked what they saw out of Boettger last season. Add in a solid former second-round pick in Lamp, and not only is Ford’s starting job in question, but his place on the roster could be, as well. Ultimately, I think that Ford ends up on the team, but unless he has a bang-up camp, it wouldn’t surprise me if McDermott goes with Feliciano and Boettger as his starting duo.