So far the New York Giants have yet to address their right tackle position. It was widely assumed that they would make finding another starting offensive tackle a priority in 2019 free agency period. But between their self-imposed need to save twice the normal amount of cap space for their “rainy day fund” and the dead money left over from their trades, the Giants weren’t able to get in on the top free agents.
But all is not lost and assuming the Giants want to replace Chad Wheeler, they can still look to the 2019 NFL Draft to find a long-term answer at right tackle.
This happens to be a solid year for offensive tackles, and most of the top prospects either being natural right tackles or having experience at the position. The Giants are also in the process of restructuring their offense around the running game. All of that means that Oklahoma right tackle Cody Ford could be high on their radar and in strong consideration for one of their first round selections.
- Massive and powerful offensive lineman.
- Flashes the ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage.
- Surprisingly fluid mover for a big lineman.
- Able to impose his will when he plays with leverage.
- Uses hands well to deal with stunts, twists, and blitzes.
- Plays with a nasty streak.
- Can play both guard and tackle.
- Might be too short for some teams to consider at tackle.
- Does not have great foot quickness or speed over any kind of distance.
- Needs to consistently play with better pad level.
- Hands are occasionally low, late, or wide.
- Occasionally plays with waist bend instead of knee bend.
- Struggles to block accurately in space or on the move.
What They’re Saying
Ford offers a rare combination of physical and athletic traits that will have NFL teams dreaming of his upside. He is raw and relatively inexperienced as a starting tackle with exploitable holes that will need to be patched before he can thrive in the pros. As a tackle, he’s a developmental, high-risk/reward talent. The safer (and better?) route might be to play him as a guard where he will face less exposure in pass protection and where his size and athleticism should allow him to become a plus run-blocker fairly quickly.
- Lance Zierlein (NFL.com - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
While there is some debate whether Ford is better suited to playing guard or tackle at the NFL level, Ford would absolutely fit given the status of the Giants’ right tackle position.
The Giants seem intent on rebuilding their offense around running the ball and a quick passing game. If so, Ford would make a solid addition to their offensive line. He might not have the physical tools to consistently pass protect for deep drops and long-developing plays, but he should be able to stand up to quick pressure.
Ford should be a good run blocker early in his career with his height, 6-foot, 3 ¾ inches, giving him natural leverage to go with an impressively powerful lower body. Ford will be a natural fit in a man-gap or inside zone scheme, and should be able to execute well enough in outside zone runs. While he can get out in space and pull, or be a blocker on screen plays, he struggles getting into position and actually delivering his blocks.
He does come with some of the familiar issues that massive and powerful offensive linemen tend to acquire, namely a tendency to rely on his size and strength to win a rep, rather than executing with technique. When ford plays with good knee bend and fires his hands into a defender’s chest plate, he is absolutely dominant. Once he is locked in on a defender, the rep is usually over. However, he still needs to build consistency in all of those areas and improve his technique as a blocker.
Ford’s ability to play guard (and perhaps do so at a higher level than offensive tackle) is a hidden upside for the Giants. It could allow them to move on from Kevin Zeitler (who has 22 million in salary over 2020 and 2021, but no dead money) after the 2019 season if they so desire.
Cody Ford might not be a shoe-in as a great right tackle at the NFL level, but his frame, game, and potential upside mean that he will almost certainly catch Dave Gettleman’s eye.