Buffalo Bills OTAs: Cody Ford has been playing with the starters at RT

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

New Buffalo Bills rookie Cody Ford is taking snaps at right tackle during OTAs.

The Buffalo Bills haven’t been shy in implementing their rookies and second-year players in the starting lineup during OTAs. Included in this is Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, and Levi Wallace, but they were obvious choices to join the starters. Less so is Cody Ford at right tackle, as reporters noted.

Before the draft, many pegged Ford to be a guard more than a tackle. Though he played right tackle well at Oklahoma, allowing just two sacks on 681 pass-block snaps, per Pro Football Focus, draft pundits labeled his game as more fit for the interior. Draft Network’s Jonathan Ledyard described the difference in his upside compared to guard and tackle, saying;

"There is no question that right now his physical and athletic gifts are superior to his polish, but Ford has the traits to be a top-tier player in the NFL. He needs refinement and proper coaching, preferably at tackle first and then moving to guard if he consistently struggles on the outside. Ford’s ceiling may be higher at guard, but his value could be greater at tackle if he hits."

The Bills look to be going with the approach of coaching him up to a top-tier right tackle first. Although he’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-3 and 329-pounds, his upside at tackle, as Ledyard reaffirms, could be immensely valuable. He’s a physical mauler at the point of attack, and finishes plays with meaning and power.

Both are traits that can make him dominant at guard, but it’s clear the Bills are looking for more. To shape his game as a tackle to the NFL level, he’ll need to clean up his footwork and speed up his hand usage. Considering that Ford’s strength and tenacity are already strengths, there truly isn’t a limit to his potential as a right tackle, if he continues his development.

Luckily, if Ford’s game isn’t ready to take full-time snaps at right tackle by the end of pre-season, the Bills have suitable options at the position. Veteran additions Ty Nsekhe and LaAdrian Waddle have prior success at the position and have started their fair share of games there (47 combined). If either were to start in place of Ford, the rookie could then switch inside and play either guard position.

Next. Buffalo Bills: Things we know in this mid-summer week. dark

Whether Ford plays right tackle or guard, the Bills appear to have faith in the rookie starting week-one. And for a good reason; before the draft, he was touted as a pro-ready first round caliber offensive lineman no matter the position. Drafting him in the second round at pick No. 38 continues to look like a steal for the Bills (but we’ll talk about that another day).