The Buffalo Bills moved up to select Cody Ford in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Entering his fourth season, Ford is squarely on the roster bubble and by the looks of things, he’s on the outside of that bubble as we speak.
Ford is going to have to make up some ground during the preseason games if he wants to make the initial 53-man roster. The biggest thing working against him is his lack of versatility. Initially picked to be the right tackle of the future, he was eventually moved inside to guard—the position many thought he would take in the NFL. So he’s played both inside and outside, but in training camp this year, he’s worked exclusively at guard.
Other players have worked at multiple positions including David Quessenberry (who seems to be the top backup), Greg Mancz (who has worked at center and guard), and Tommy Doyle (who has worked at both guard spots and both tackle spots). These multi-position players offer more value on game days and when short-term injuries pop up.
Even at just the guard position, he’s seen his reps be pushed further and further down the depth chart. On Sunday, journeyman Bobby Hart was the first-team guard ahead of Ford. Hart spent the majority of the 2021 season on practice squads, bouncing between four different teams.
“Ford has not had a good camp, even with the opportunities to block for Allen,” wrote Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic earlier this week on Sunday.
A day later on Monday, Ford had his strongest camp practice to date, according to Matt Parrino of NYUP.com.
“At one point he exchanged some words with one defensive lineman coming out of a pile after a run play,” wrote Parrino. “Perhaps his most impressive play of the day came in 1-on-1s when he completely shut down defensive tackle Tim Settle’s power rush. Hart opened another nice hole in team drills for running back Duke Johnson, who was able to run one for 10 yards.”
Even after that praise, Parrino mentioned Ford is going to have to outplay Hart down the stretch to make the team. Not exactly a glowing endorsement.
Ford is going to need to string those practices together with some solid preseason performances to make the team. He’s cheap, and when I wrote about him earlier this offseason I said that would probably keep him on the roster, but if he isn’t better than the depth options, there’s no football reason to keep him. None of the remainder of Ford’s contract is guaranteed.
Given general manager Brandon Beane’s track record of swapping depth offensive linemen for a future late-round draft pick, it also wouldn’t surprise me to see Ford on the move at the end of August.