When the Buffalo Bills made Cody Ford the No. 38 selection overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, it was expected that they were drafting him to start. The question was at what position would Ford fit best. Some evaluators pegged him as a guard, but the Bills started his career at right tackle.
After an up-and-down year at right tackle as a rookie, Ford made the move inside to guard last year. He won a starting gig, perhaps by default after Jon Feliciano suffered a training camp injury, but Ford started seven games at guard in 2020. Injuries limited him to those seven games, and he once again bounced to different positions. Ford started five games at left guard and two games at right guard last season.
In his opening press conference at training camp, general manager Brandon Beane acknowledged the difficulty in playing multiple positions along the offensive line as it relates to Ford’s development.
“We’ve bounced him around a lot and he doesn’t bat an eye,” Beane said of the 6’3”, 329-lb lineman. He noted that Ford hasn’t complained or said a word about his position, as he continues to work hard to be the best player he can be.
Beane continued by saying that the team plans to play Ford at both right guard and left guard throughout the offseason so that they can determine what spot is best for him and for the team. Beane added that Ford isn’t guaranteed a spot in the starting lineup—“He’s gonna have to win it”—but that the team is very confident that a healthy Ford will show himself to be the player the team knows it drafted three years ago.
Versatility along the offensive line is a must in Buffalo, so it should come as no surprise that Ford will see action at multiple spots. When he played with Quinton Spain last year, Ford lined up as the right guard. When Brian Winters entered the lineup, Ford moved to the left side to accommodate the veteran. A similar split may emerge this year, as Ike Boettger played primarily left guard and Jon Feliciano was on the right side last year. Forrest Lamp played left guard for the Los Angeles Chargers last year.
As for Ford’s injuries, Beane said that “Cody is in great shape” and that he’s “had a great offseason.” Beane said that the team believes in him even though he’s had some tough injuries. As training camp and the preseason both progress, we’ll see how much that belief translates into playing time for the third-year man.