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NFL Draft

Five Things to Know About Chiefs Fifth-Round Pick Center Hunter Nourzad

The Chiefs selected Nourzad with the No. 159 overall pick on Saturday

The Kansas City Chiefs made another addition to their offensive line on Saturday with the selection of former Penn State center Hunter Nourzad with the No. 159 overall pick.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of the offensive line.

1. Nourzad has experience all over the offensive line.

The 6-foot-3, 317-pound Nourzad logged starts at right tackle (20 games), center (13 games), left guard (7 games) and right guard (1 game) during his collegiate career, including 13 starts at center in 2023. In total, the 24-year-old Nourzad has 44 starts under his belt while manning four of the five positions up front.

That positional versatility is invaluable, and unsurprisingly, Chiefs' Northeast Area Scout Cassidy Kaminski compared his skillset to that of former Chiefs' offensive lineman Nick Allegretti, who started for Kansas City at left guard in Super Bowl LVIII.

Here's more from Kaminski on Nourzad:

"You think about versatility, he's played four years of college football and played three positions," Kaminski said. "I think he's an interior guy for us…He will take care of whatever position we ask him to [play] on the interior."

2. He began his career at Cornell before transferring to Penn State in 2022.

Originally a no-star recruit, Nourzad started 10 games at right tackle for Cornell in 2019 – earning Second-Team All-Ivy League honors – and following the cancellation of the 2020 campaign due to the pandemic, he turned in another 10 starts at right tackle in 2021.

His efforts in the latter season garnered Second-Team All-American honors, prompting transfer offers from larger programs. Nourzad landed at Penn State, where he bounced inside and made seven starts at left guard and one at right. He then recorded 13 starts at center during his final year in school, earning Second-Team All-Big-10 recognition.

3. He didn't allow a single sack last season.

Nourzad yielded a grand total of zero sacks last season across his 13 starts at center, which included 416 pass-blocking snaps. He surrendered just two sacks the year prior on 327 pass-blocking snaps at guard.

According to The Athletic's Dane Brugler, Penn State Head Coach James Franklin cited Nourzad as "the foundation" of Penn State's offensive line along with first-round pick Olu Fashanu.

4. Nourzad was rarely flagged during his time in school.

Nourzad was flagged just three times in 24 games over the last two seasons, consistently demonstrating good technique and discipline despite facing some of the best defensive lines in all of college football.

East's Hunter Nourzad, of Penn State, defends against the rush during the East West Shrine Bowl NCAA college football game in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

5. He's an extremely intelligent guy.

Area Scout Cassidy Kaminski, who spoke about Nourzad following the selection on Saturday, shared an interesting story that reflects the engineering graduate's impressive smarts:

"This guy is so intelligent that the [Penn State] engineering department was recruiting him almost as heavily as the football department was," Kaminski said. "The Penn State department wanted him as a grad student because he was coveted as an engineering grad student that much as well."

Dane Brugler went as far to connect those two skillsets in his pre-draft guide, writing the following:

"Nourzad is an analytical thinker when it comes to constructing and executing his blocks."

Nourzad will now have an opportunity to put both his intelligence and athletic gifts to the test this upcoming season as the Chiefs aim to defend their back-to-back championships.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Penn State Offensive Lineman Hunter Nourzad in the 5th Round (Pick 159) of the 2024 NFL Draft.

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