With questions along the offensive line, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers very well could draft an offensive lineman. The question is: What round? Could Oklahoma Sooner Cody Ford be in the mix for the Buccaneers?
Its no secret the Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled on the offensive line. Due in part to tackle Donovan Smith’s lack luster play. Furthermore, he stands to depart in free agency if the Buccaneers decide not to offer him a large pay increase. Though dependable, he did not make the leap we all hoped he would this season.
Secondly, Caleb Benenoch was abysmal and the weakest link on the line. His inability to stand his ground was nothing short of infuriating. Certainly he is not a starter.
Finally, Demar Dotson isn’t getting any younger.
Off to a Good Start Only to Be Cut Short
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could consider a guy like Cody Ford to help shore up the offensive line.
In 2015 Ford would be a red shirt freshman. This time would allow him to catch up to the speed of the game and learn the playbook. Though he never saw a game, he was named Oklahoma Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year.
2016 would start off far better. Starting the first three games at left guard Ford was starting to make a name for himself. Unfortunately Ford’s season was derailed when he broke his leg in the third game of the season.
A Sporadic Return
After recovering Ford was ready to go again in 2017. He played in 12 games, starting four of them. In those starts he would play left guard. He would miss two games due to injury. Though the season was not a full success he was able to make progress to getting back to where he was the season prior.
Making a Splash
An AP All-America Third Team selection in 2018 and part of offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award, Ford started to turn heads. This year he made the move to right tackle. Ford was also able to show he has durability and started all 14 games to include the first round of the NCAA Football Playoffs. He was impressive all season.
Standing in at around 6′ 5″ and weighing approximately 336 pounds Ford has the size to play at the next level. He has good feet and maintains a good base. His surprising athletic ability should have teams looking to keep him at right tackle. His size will make him difficult to drive back and not easy to get around. Defensive ends will have to use an entire slew of tools to figure out how to get past him in pass protection even though he is not an elite player in that category.
When run blocking you should expect to see Ford utilize his weight and power to drive defenders off the line as he will out weigh defenders by a good amount. He has good awareness and keeps his head on a swivel and will be blocking all the way to the second level. Run blocking is his strong suit.
The only concerns I have are his injury history and possibly, his arm length. Even with those things considered, he will be an early pick. As a result, teams looking to draft him as a tackle will select him in the first round. If teams have determined he is best suited to move to guard, he may drop to the second round. I grade Ford as an first round impact tackle with a Pro Bowl caliber ceiling.
Ultimately Cody Ford is a player the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could use.