Why the Slide?: Cody Ford

Why the Slide?: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Throughout the leadup to the 2019 NFL Draft, Oklahoma right tackle/guard Cody Ford was a mainstay as a first-round projection. He was coming off a superb season in which he displayed a skill set of size, quickness and athleticism. Oklahoma’s offensive line was loaded with future draft picks, and Ford hands down the best player of the group. Many teams felt that Ford could move back to guard in the NFL, a position he played previously, while others felt he could stay right tackle or play some left tackle. Ford’s versatility looked intriguing, and nobody would have been surprised if he had gone in the middle of the first round. Thus, it was a shock when he slipped to the second round.

In speaking to team sources, there is not a clear-cut reason why Ford went in Round 2. One team director said they weren’t sure but guessed it was a combination of some teams thinking he could be a tweener, some teams possibly feeling he didn’t interview as well as expected, and that he is a smart kid but not an assertive alpha. Some teams want their offensive linemen to be more assertive. Still, those thoughts were more educated guesses rather than being definite reasons. “It really doesn’t make sense to me,” said one area scout. “We had him graded higher than Garrett Bradbury – 18th overall – and Tytus Howard – 23rd overall.”

The Buffalo Bills ended Ford’s fall when they traded up in the second round to get him. Buffalo is a nice landing spot for Ford, as the team needed offensive line help to protect Josh Allen, so Ford should be able to compete for a starting job quickly. Immediately, Ford could play at right guard or right tackle for the Bills, as they have a competition with some veterans who are okay, but not world beaters. Ford was a steal for Buffalo in Round 2. and it wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes one of the top right tackles in the NFL.

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