The University of Oklahoma tackle said his meetings with Bills offensive line coach Bobby Johnson made him hope Buffalo would be his NFL destination, a feeling he expressed to a reporter in Norman, Okla., last week.
Buffalo Bills: A rapid reaction and grade of the Dawson Knox pick
I told him I really want to go to Buffalo, Ford said of the reporter. He said nobody wants to go to Buffalo. I was like, me and the O-line coach really hit it off.
We had multiple meetings between the combine and pro day, Ford said. It was just great interaction with him, and I could just see this program was headed in the right direction.
The Bills liked Ford enough to trade up two spots in the second round to get him at pick No. 38. Ford becomes the favorite to start at right tackle as a rookie.
When he did get the ball, he showed enough to warrant NFL consideration. He demonstrated nice hand-eye coordination and adjusted well to poorly thrown balls. He also showed enough explosion to create match-up problems on linebackers in coverage.
For Buffalo, allowing me to start off at right tackle, giving me a chance to prove myself and prove my athleticism and everything I can do at the tackle position is a great honor, Ford said Saturday at One Bills Drive. And then if need be, if they need me inside, then Ill move inside because Im here to win football games.
Cody went to the best place he could go, Bedenbaugh told The News. I think coach Johnson does a great job. And hes going to really develop this kid. Hes going to be a big-time guy for Buffalo. Im really fired up for him.
Coach Johnson came down here for a couple days, came to our pro day and worked those guys out, spent time with him, Bedenbaugh said. And I really feel good about him. Hes had success everywhere. You have to go somewhere that a guy really wants you. And coach Johnson wants him. They traded up to get Cody. I think hell be the best rookie offensive lineman this year.
Theres little argument about Fords most impressive trait. The 6-foot-3 3-4, 329-pounder plays physical.
I had the opportunity to watch him during one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl, said former Jacksonville Pro Bowl tackle Leon Searcy. Hes mean, nasty with an aggressive temperament.
Every single time you turn on the film and watch him, hes dirt bagging somebody, said former Giants Pro Bowler Sean OHara on the NFL Network. He is putting them in the dirt.
Thats how we want them to play here, Bedenbaugh said. Its not just that. He plays hard. Watch his tape. Thats all you have to do. Watch how he gets downfield and blocks, watch how he keeps people away from the quarterback and moves people at the line of scrimmage. Its easy to see.
I just want to play the game the way its supposed to be played, which is physical and nasty, Ford said. You go to Oklahoma and theres a standard you have to uphold. All I was trying to do was uphold that standard. You cant play for coach Bedenbaugh if you dont play like that.
Bedenbaugh is one of the most respected offensive line coaches in college football. Ford said he got the same kind of feeling from Johnson as he had from his college coach.
His coaching style kind of resembles the coaching style Ive been used to, Ford said of Johnson. What he expects from his players is kind of what I bring to the table … Back home coach Bedenbaugh expects every player to bring their best effort, always fight for everything and make sure everything you get is earned and not given. That was the biggest thing I saw in coach Johnson.
Ford switched from guard to tackle for his junior year. There is debate in the scouting community about where Ford fits best. Not surprisingly, Bedenbaugh thinks he can handle tackle. Ford allowed just seven pressures in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus.
The guy moved to tackle and played 14 games at tackle, not many people can do that at his size, Bedenbaugh said. We had to move him to tackle, and he was unbelievable. He gave up how many pressures this year? And one sack … Now Ive never coached in the NFL. But I would start him at tackle. I think hes an all-pro guard, and he can play tackle.
Oklahoma won the Joe Moore Award, given to the team with the No. 1 offensive line in the nation. The Sooners line blocked for the last two Heisman Trophy winners (quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray). Ford was one of four Sooners linemen taken this weekend, joining tackle Bobby Evans (taken in the third round) and guards Ben Powers and Dru Samia (both fourth rounders).
We definitely did something special, Ford said. The group we had last season was so amazing … Coach Bedenbaugh, he invested so much time in us and so much belief in us, we owe it to him. We had to do the work, but we had to follow the guide, and he gave us that guide.
At 64 and 329 lbs, Ford is a grizzly bear who reminds me a lot of two players—former Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn, and Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson. He has immense paw power, seizing defenders and throwing them around the field. He runs every play through the whistle. This man can be an impact run blocker from day one. His pass-protection technique is quite nice—he was well-coached in Oklahomas offense.
Bills GM Brandon Beane made a pair of trades on day two, but he was trying to get up even higher than he did to land the likes of Cody Ford and Dawson Knox.
We had a very good grade on Cody and we even looked into late last night trying to get into the end of the first round, but it was a little rich for us, said Beane. We felt like wed be giving up too many assets to do that. We made some calls and fortunately he was there for us to make that move with Oakland to pick him up.
So instead of moving up 8-12 spots into the bottom of round one, Buffalo fortunately had to move up just two picks, parting with only a fifth-round selection to do so.
The teams second trade in round three proved harder to pull off according to Beane. They were trying to get up higher in round three before finally making a deal with Washington for the 96th selection.
There was a run on tight ends starting, said Beane. Youre kind of holding your breath, you start looking, our next pick was 112. He fit the value of where we picked him. We were thinking, Theres enough teams that still could use tight ends. So we just didnt see any way that he would fall.
He eventually parted with both of his fourth-round selections (112 and 131) to move up 16 spots to take the Ole Miss tight end. In Beanes eyes it was worth it because after Knox there was a sizable drop off at tight end on their board.
The next one that we had ranked was starting to be significantly lower, Beane said. We just felt this was the time to jump, that was still another position we wanted to address in this draft. It made sense to me to trade up there, because we had that value on Dawson.
Many outside observers felt the Bills had to come away with one of the top end receivers in the draft class. After only two receivers came off the board on day one of the draft, there was optimism that the Buffalo would add to their ranks at wideout.
We had some guys, but they were not as high as Cody in the second, said Beane. Then I think you saw there was a run on receivers. Our next pick was Devin (Singletary), and by then, there was nothing available that we thought the value fit to what Devin could do for us.
Among the bigger names left on the board for day three include Iowa States Hakeem Butler, Georgias Riley Ridley, N.C. States Kelvin Harmon and Auburns Darius Slayton. But the Bills are unlikely to have a crack at any of those players knowing they no longer hold a fourth-round selection.
GM Brandon Beane: We truly followed our draft board and took the best players available. LeSean McCoy is still here and heres our starting running back. #GoBills pic.twitter.com/1Ly5nxgO51
After the Bills took OL Cody Ford and RB Devin Singletary it further expanded two position groups that look pretty crowded on paper.
Buffalo currently has 14 offensive linemen and seven running backs, not counting International player allocation Christian Wade.
As far as Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott are concerned the players will ultimately determine the pecking order and who is still around come the end of August.
Its competition, said Beane. Honestly, as Sean said, were going to roll it out. Were a couple of months away from real football. I dont know the order of how a lot of these positions, whether its O-line, receiver, tight end, running back, I dont know how its going to shake out. In time well figure that out.
Coach McDermott: Were here to win championships and it starts one day at a time. We have a lot of work left to do but no one puts higher expectations on this team than we do. #GoBills pic.twitter.com/29CFX2Mxz0
Bills second-round pick Cody Ford finished his college career as a right tackle for Oklahoma, but he also played guard. For now, Buffalo will line him up on the edge as he begins his pro career.
Hell come in here and can play right tackle or guard for us, said Beane. I would say position one for us right now would be right tackle, but we do like his versatility to go inside. Hes smart and physical and would be fine in there.
What coach McDermott likes most about Ford is his playing demeanor, which he saw as a fit for the attitude they want to have up front.
He is smart and he is tough, said McDermott. Were anxious to get him in here and get him integrated to how we do things. When you look at the way he played, his play style was physical, but under control and he brought some leadership to that football team as well.
With the 2019 NFL Draft officially underway, follow along with the Buffalo Bills to find out which players the team selects. Bills draft coverage is presented by ECMC.
1 / 21 2 / 21 3 / 21 Ed Oliver, Buffalo Bills first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, arrives at One Bills Drive on April 26, 2019. Photo by Bill Wippert
7 / 21 8 / 21 9 / 21 10 / 21 11 / 21 12 / 21 13 / 21 14 / 21 during the Gators game against the LSU Tigers on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. / UAA Communications photo by Paige Santiago
15 / 21 during the Gators game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. / UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey
16 / 21 during the Gators game against the Michigan Wolverines in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Saturday, December 29, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. / UAA Communications photo by Dakota Williams
19 / 21 The Duke Blue Devils played The University of Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on November 3, 2018. The Blue Devils beat the Hurricanes by a final score of 20-12. Photos by Ryan Murphy The Duke Blue Devils played The University of Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on November 3, 2018. The Blue Devils beat the Hurricanes by a final score of 20-12. Photos by Ryan Murphy
NFL Network draft analysts called Bills third-round pick Devin Singletary a mini LeSean McCoy as his elusive running style is similar to that of the Bills vet. Beane agreed with that assessment calling Singletarys game film among the most entertaining hes seen.
Of all the guys that I watched, I still have a note on my little surface (tablet) that I write in. I put down This is the funnest guy Ive watched all year, said Beane. Even the guys that I watched after him, I didnt feel like I should erase it.
The guy has got some amazing vision, rare vision, and lateral quickness. His instincts, if (the highest) is 10, his are up here. Theyre very rare. Rare instincts, rare vision for the position. Hes a smaller guy, wouldnt call him a home run hitter, but he can make guys miss in a phone booth.
Beane also said because of that elusiveness hes never ever taken a big shot when tackled. So despite a heavy workload of more than 700 carries in college, the Bills see those as highway miles rather than city.