The Cleveland Browns’ offensive tackles had a rough year in the first season following the retirement of left tackle Joe Thomas.
While the club finished as the second-best offensive line in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, but that was built on the strength of the guards Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio, who were the top two pass-blocking guards in the league, and center J.C. Tretter was third among centers in pass blocking.
The tackle positions were a bit more rocky, as right tackle Chris Hubbard finished at No. 50 in PFF’s rankings, Desmond Harrison was at No. 67 and Greg Robinson was at No. 63.
Cleveland is currently in possession of the 17th-overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and CBS Sports’ Will Brinson has the Browns taking a shot at fixing the tackle position in his latest mock draft:
No. 17: Cleveland Browns - Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford: The Browns have a really good roster right now but could use some more depth when it comes to their offensive line as they continue to look for someone to fill Joe Thomas’ spot at left tackle for the long haul (good luck with that).
Ford, a redshirt junior, played right tackle this past season after playing guard his first two years with the Sooners. He only made seven total starts at guard, however, as he suffered a broken leg in 2016.
He made the most of his time at right tackle as he graded out as one of the Sooners’ best offensive lineman and was part of unit that won the Joe Moore Award as the nation’s best offensive line, according to The Norman Transcript.
While Brinson projects the 6-foot-4 and 330-pound Ford to be a tackle in the NFL, there are some that consider guard to be his future position in the NFL, as The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard points out:
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 redshirt junior should be one of the biggest risers of the pre-draft process and has a legitimate shot to be a first round pick.
The Browns selected a college tackle whose NFL future is at guard last year in Austin Corbett. It is easy to wonder if general manager John Dorsey would go down that route again this year with Ford, given that the Browns are not currently in need of a guard.