It’s become painfully obvious that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a lot of help on the offensive line. They probably need a pair of tackles and a guard. Perhaps if last year’s third round pick, Alex Cappa, continues to develop he can take over as the starting right guard or right tackle next year. Cappa has yetto show that he is anywhere near ready at this point. Even so, he is part of the Bucs plans moving forward when it comes to the offensive line.
So with Cappa potentially playing right guard or tackle next year, it makes sense to me to draft a guy who can play the other position that Cappa won’t play. On the other hand, Cappa has not been impressive at all to this point and may need to be replaced. The best way to make sure the Bucs fill their holes on the right side of the line is by drafting a guy who can play both guard and tackle. And as fate would have it, there is just such a guy in this class and he just so happens to be a dominant force.
Built Ford Tough
Cody Ford is an absolute monster of a man. At 6’4 and 340 lbs he is as big of an offensive lineman you’re going to see in the NFL. He is so powerful as a run blocker with the ability to just drive defensive ends out of the play. However, he is more than just strong. His technique is also very good as a run blocker. He takes short choppy steps to drive his man and is always in control. Freakishly quick and fluid for a man of his size, he has the ability to block linebackers in space. He would be a huge upgrade and would go a long way in helping develop the Buccaneers running game.
Ford is also pretty good in pass protection. Defenders are not going to run through him with as big and strong as he is and it isn’t easy to run around him with his quickness. He isn’t a top end pass blocker and probably won’t ever be a left tackle protecting the blind side. With that said, he’ll be a very good pass blocker for a right tackle. Much better in this area than Caleb Benenoch or Demar Dotson at this stage of his career (or really ever for that matter).
Do we have a shot?
The big question is, do the Bucs actually have a shot at getting this guy? The answer is that they might. A top ten pick is probably too rich for a right tackle, although his talent may warrant it. The sad truth is that I think many inferior prospects will be drafted over him because he doesn’t play one of the premium positions of value. With that being said, he might slide right into the Bucs lap in the top of the second round. If this is the case, or even if they trade up a few slots to go up and get this guy, Ford would be a great value.
Improving the offensive line has to be a priority this off-season and drafting Ford would certainly do that. He has “pro bowl” written all over him and he might be the Bucs second best offensive lineman next year if we’re lucky enough to see him wind up in Tampa Bay. There isn’t a really good comparison for a guy this big and this quick, but picture him as everything people were hoping Donovan Smith would be but isn’t.