The Kansas State Wildcats are sending a big one to the NFL this time. And Cody Whitehair represents K-State's true best chance at a first-round draft pick since Josh Freeman was drafted 17th overall in 2009. Whitehair leaves the Wildcats as a four-time All-Big 12 selection; starting at Honorable Mention as a freshman left guard/right tackle, then earning second team honors as a sophomore left guard and a junior left tackle, before snagging first team honors at left tackle as a senior. He also earned a slew of other awards as a Wildcat. So let's take a look at what makes Cody such a can't-miss prospect.
He played well at tackle for K-State, but his natural position is inside at guard and that's where most draft projections have him slotted. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock even has Whitehair slotted as the No. 1 guard in the 2016 draft class. He's also worked out for some scouts at center, so he has roster value at all five spots on the line. Projections for other teams echo this versatility, with our friends over at Pride of Detroit thinking he could fill any void as needed (even though they have him going in the second round...).
Cody played in every game possible as a Wildcat, 52, and started in 51. Starting that many games in the Big 12 means he's already seen his fair share of future NFL d-linemen, and has played in both run-heavy and pass-heavy schemes while at K-State. He's also a rock-steady worker and team-player, and was a team captain as a senior.
Cody didn't actually test well in the "strength" areas of the combine, but he moves very well for a man his size notching the 3rd-best 3-cone drill time, 6th-best broad jump, 7th-best 40-yard dash, and 8th-best 20-yard shuttle time at the combine. Having the hold the blindside against Big 12 DE's, with his "weaker" upper-body, means he also had to have very good footwork and body position.
We've already given you one above, but lets look at where the consensus seems to be heading. Early on, the draft projections had Whitehair late in the first round, to teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or the Denver Broncos. But updated projections seem to be landing Cody consistently at No. 26 to the Seattle Seahawks.
Wherever he ends up, it seems like Cody is headed for a great career, and has many feeling like he could be an All-Pro immediately and in the future.