Kansas State OL Cody Whitehair Impressing at Senior Bowl

Whitehair is playing guard at the Senior Bowl after playing tackle the past two years

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He grew up 160 miles away from Arrowhead Stadium in a small Kansas town called Abilene, which sits just west of Manhattan, the place he'd call home throughout a storied four-year career for the Wildcat football team.

But more importantly, Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair grew up a member of Chiefs Kingdom.

"I always watched the Chiefs on Sundays when I was growing up, and so it'd mean a lot to me to be close to home," he noted of potentially joining the Chiefs later this spring. "I'm a family-oriented guy and so having them be able to come and watch would mean a lot."

Whitehair measured at 6 feet 3 and 300 pounds during Tuesday's weigh-in at the Senior Bowl, and he's caught the eye of many national media members who are intrigued by what he brings to the table.

"I think there's a lot of expectations for Cody Whitehair," NBC Sports draft analyst Josh Norris noted. "In recent years, we have seen tackles be converted to guard, and they've played really well—(Dallas Cowboys) Zach Martin and (Washington Redskins) Brandon Scherff.

"I think everyone then tries to put one in each draft class, and I think this year that is Whitehair."

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Whitehair started 51 of 52 possible games during his time at K-State, including a stretch of 41 straight to end his career. The four-time All-Big 12 honoree started at guard for the first two years of his career and then moved to left tackle over the past two seasons.

On Tuesday, Whitehair was the starting left guard for the South team.

Norris explained what he sees when he watches Whitehair on film, and why moving him inside may be his best spot.

"When he gets his hands on you, it's over," he said. "I mean, that's where his power is. Whereas if he's on the edge, he's kind of susceptible to losing on the outside speed rush. So put him in a phone booth, put him in a tighter space, that's probably where he wins."

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller agreed.

"The biggest thing is just that he's a mean player," Miller said of Whitehair. "That's what you want from a guard because it's a fist fight for like an hour, but he also has quickness. You can bring him in for the run game and you're not getting a finesse player.

"It makes him pretty special. You can slide him in at left guard or right guard and be just fine."

Norris spoke about the value that comes with adding talent to any of the three core inside offensive line positions.

"For years, it has been assumed that left tackle is the most important position on the offensive line," Norris said. "It's because that's where all the great rushers used to come from. Now, obviously they're from the right side as well, and more from the interior. And not just because of base defensive linemen, but sub packaged defensive linemen.

"I'm a proponent that interior disruption destroys everything or anything faster than edge pressure. Because now tackles are taught to ride these edge rushers around, and then the fabric of the pocket is in the middle.

"So to me, yes, you can absolutely spend a first-round, top-10 pick on an offensive guard. And I wouldn't be surprised at all if Whitehair is the first guard on many, many teams' boards."

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Whitehair is joined by fellow K-Stater Glenn Gronkowski this week at the Senior Bowl.

Gronkowski, who played fullback at K-State, is working as a tight end this week for the South team, although he's moved around quite a bit, lining up at H-back, in the slot and the backfield as well.

"You have to show versatility because the amount of teams who use fullbacks are dying," Miller said. "They only play around 10 percent of the snaps, and so being able to line up in all of those places is only going to add value to him.

"He didn't play a ton of snaps at K-State and so he's got to show that he's comfortable with the ball in his hands, but pass protection is also super important for him."

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