Cody Ford Jersey

Cody Ford’s first impression of the Buffalo Bills before the NFL Draft was a great one, and the feeling was mutual.

The University of Oklahoma tackle said his meetings with Bills offensive line coach Bobby Johnson made him hope Buffalo would be his NFL destination, a feeling he expressed to a reporter in Norman, Okla., last week.

“I told him I really want to go to Buffalo,” Ford said of the reporter. “He said nobody wants to go to Buffalo. I was like, me and the O-line coach really hit it off.”

“We had multiple meetings between the combine and pro day,” Ford said. “It was just great interaction with him, and I could just see this program was headed in the right direction.”

The Bills liked Ford enough to trade up two spots in the second round to get him at pick No. 38. Ford becomes the favorite to start at right tackle as a rookie.“For Buffalo, allowing me to start off at right tackle, giving me a chance to prove myself and prove my athleticism and everything I can do at the tackle position is a great honor,” Ford said Saturday at One Bills Drive. “And then if need be, if they need me inside, then I’ll move inside because I’m here to win football games.”

Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh had a good feeling about the Bills and Ford, too.

“Cody went to the best place he could go,” Bedenbaugh told The News. “I think coach Johnson does a great job. And he’s going to really develop this kid. He’s going to be a big-time guy for Buffalo. I’m really fired up for him.”

“Coach Johnson came down here for a couple days, came to our pro day and worked those guys out, spent time with him,” Bedenbaugh said. “And I really feel good about him. He’s had success everywhere. You have to go somewhere that a guy really wants you. And coach Johnson wants him. They traded up to get Cody. I think he’ll be the best rookie offensive lineman this year.”

There’s little argument about Ford’s most impressive trait. The 6-foot-3 3-4, 329-pounder plays physical.

I had the opportunity to watch him during one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl,” said former Jacksonville Pro Bowl tackle Leon Searcy. “He’s mean, nasty with an aggressive temperament.”

“Every single time you turn on the film and watch him, he’s dirt bagging somebody,” said former Giants Pro Bowler Sean O’Hara on the NFL Network. “He is putting them in the dirt.”

“That’s how we want them to play here,” Bedenbaugh said. “It’s not just that. He plays hard. Watch his tape. That’s all you have to do. Watch how he gets downfield and blocks, watch how he keeps people away from the quarterback and moves people at the line of scrimmage. It’s easy to see.”

“I just want to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, which is physical and nasty,” Ford said. “You go to Oklahoma and there’s a standard you have to uphold. All I was trying to do was uphold that standard. You can’t play for coach Bedenbaugh if you don’t play like that.”

Bedenbaugh is one of the most respected offensive line coaches in college football. Ford said he got the same kind of feeling from Johnson as he had from his college coach.

“His coaching style kind of resembles the coaching style I’ve been used to,” Ford said of Johnson. “What he expects from his players is kind of what I bring to the table … Back home coach Bedenbaugh expects every player to bring their best effort, always fight for everything and make sure everything you get is earned and not given. That was the biggest thing I saw in coach Johnson.”

Ford switched from guard to tackle for his junior year. There is debate in the scouting community about where Ford fits best. Not surprisingly, Bedenbaugh thinks he can handle tackle. Ford allowed just seven pressures in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus.

“The guy moved to tackle and played 14 games at tackle, not many people can do that at his size,” Bedenbaugh said. “We had to move him to tackle, and he was unbelievable. He gave up how many pressures this year? And one sack … Now I’ve never coached in the NFL. But I would start him at tackle. I think he’s an all-pro guard, and he can play tackle.”

Oklahoma won the Joe Moore Award, given to the team with the No. 1 offensive line in the nation. The Sooners’ line blocked for the last two Heisman Trophy winners (quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray). Ford was one of four Sooners linemen taken this weekend, joining tackle Bobby Evans (taken in the third round) and guards Ben Powers and Dru Samia (both fourth rounders).

“We definitely did something special,” Ford said. “The group we had last season was so amazing … Coach Bedenbaugh, he invested so much time in us and so much belief in us, we owe it to him. We had to do the work, but we had to follow the guide, and he gave us that guide.”

Ed Oliver Jersey

It wasn’t a running joke, but it became a running, — thing — during free agency.

When the Buffalo Bills signed someone, quarterback Josh Allen called them to welcome them to the team.When the Bills made defensive tackle Ed Oliver the ninth-overall pick at the 2019 NFL Draft, he heard from someone else. Recently retired Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, Oliver revealed on Friday.

Oliver also revealed he very much is aware of Williams.

“Kyle Williams is in a league of his own that I haven’t even come close to touching,” Williams said. “I think Kyle Williams is a great player. I think Kyle Williams will wear a gold jacket one day.”

But when they Williams placed that call, what did he say? And frankly, why did he feel compelled to do so?

“Buffalo, what it is, what it means to me, that organization, those colors,” Williams told the Buffalo News. “I just wanted him to know what a special place he was walking into. The kind of city he represents, the kind of organization he represents, and the people he’s going to work with. I just said, ‘Man, if I can help you in any way along the way, don’t hesitate to call me. I’m here for you.’”

Williams could be a great source of Oliver, too. Williams’ played over a 13-year career that speaks for itself, but it speaks loudly to Oliver. Both were tabbed as “undersized” defensive tackles entering the NFL.

Williams will tell you, he was a first-overall pick. But in 2006, the NFL world was different. He was the first pick of the fifth-round. Thanks to guys like Rams’ DT Aaron Donald, and even Williams, undersized tackles are being given a chance to shine in the NFL in 2019. And evidently, they can be drafted much higher in the drat nowadays.

Oliver, a 6-foot-1, 281-pound defender, will certainly have his chance to shine, too.

It remains to be seen what Oliver exactly does with that opportunity, but you can count Williams in as one of those guys that believe in the talent Buffalo picked.

“A lot of time you see these uber-talented guys, but they take plays off. This kid plays hard,” Williams told The Athletic. “He’s one of the rare ones that’s really talented, but he’s got a hot motor, can run plays down from behind and can play sideline to sideline.

“That gives me the thought that it’s important to him. He wants to play hard. When he comes into a culture built around team, I think he’s going to flourish.”