Cody Ford sounds like an offensive lineman the Ravens already have. Big, talented, plays with an edge, went to college at Oklahoma.
There is no guarantee Ford will be as good as Orlando Brown Jr., who became the Ravens’ starting right tackle as a rookie and helped them make the playoffs last season. But Ford is expected to go much higher in the draft than Brown, who dropped to the third round after he struggled at the Combine. Ford is one of the top offensive line prospects in this year’s draft, and if the Ravens take him with the No. 22 pick, Brown will love playing with his former college teammate.
“Physicality, man,” Brown said of Ford. “He’s a dominant football player. That showed up on film whenever he was in there, especially this past season. He’s very smart, and for him, his game is a lot about mentality. That’s something we need, especially if we’re going to be running the ball like we did at the end of last year. So, he’s somebody that would be able to come in and help us out a bunch.”
Ford started at right tackle for the Sooners last season, but he also played both guard spots and is viewed as one of the draft’s best run-blocking offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.
Here are the comps and scouting reports for this year’s top interior offensive line prospects from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
The Ravens are solid at right tackle and right guard with seven-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda, but there will be competition at left guard. Imagine if Ford, who measured 6-foot-4, 329 pounds, played well enough to be plugged into the starting lineup as a rookie like Brown, in a run-heavy Ravens offense that plays to Ford’s strengths.
“I have to get in with whoever drafts me and let them know I’m here for business,” Ford said at the Combine. “I’m ready for the game right now. I need to show them that I’m mature enough to handle a starting job or at least be No. 2 on the charts. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com has compared Ford to another former Ravens left guard, Kelechi Osemele.
“Osemele’s explosiveness and mean streak combination allowed him to become the best young guard in football,” Trapasso wrote. “Ford is a similar tweener, with feet capable enough for him to stay on the outside if need be. I think his best position is guard because of his athleticism and strength blend.”
Plenty of scouts are predicting a long career for Ford regardless of where he lands, or whether he plays guard or tackle. The Ravens were very pleased with two Oklahoma draft picks last year – Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. It will be interesting to see if Ford becomes the next player to travel from Oklahoma to Baltimore.
Ford has consistently been projected to be drafted in the early 20s, right where the Ravens are picking. Asked if he thought the Ravens would draft Ford or Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 22 if both were available, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay gave a slight edge to Ferrell.
“Because of their need for a pass rusher," McShay said on a conference call. "But Ford is a better prospect."