SE: Cody Whitehair Talks NFL Draft
Since his days on the gridiron with the Wildcat football team, offensive lineman Cody Whitehair has been turning the heads of NFL scouts across the nation.
A projected top-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Whitehair has had a busy few months since Wildcat fans last saw him at the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. From playing in the Senior Bowl to preparing for the NFL Combine to showing off at K-State’s Pro Day, Whitehair has been going non-stop these past three months and won’t be slowing down any time soon.
At the NFL Combine, the 6-foot-4, 301-pound versatile offensive lineman from Abilene, Kansas, ran a 5.08-second 40-yard dash, bench pressed 16 reps at 225 pounds, leaped 110.0 inches in the broad jump, recorded a 4.58-second 20-yard shuttle, and was among the combine’s top performers with a 7.32-second mark in the 3-cone drill.
According to his NFL Draft profile, Whitehair is viewed as, “one of the safest offensive linemen in the entire draft,” and, “has the ability to be a very good starter with a ceiling that could reach the all-pro level.”
Following his senior season at K-State, Whitehair earned 2015 All-Big 12 First Team honors and picked up votes for the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year award. He earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors in both 2013 and 2014 and, after helping the Wildcats to a Big 12 title as a freshman in 2012, was named to the Freshman All-American squad.
K-State Sports Extra recently caught up with Whitehair. Here’s a look at what he had to say leading up to the draft.
Sports Extra: How has life been since your last game in K-State uniform?
Cody Whitehair: It’s been great. After the Liberty Bowl, I went to Michael Johnson Performance and signed with my agent. A week later, I went back to Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney, Texas, to train through the Senior Bowl. I went to the Senior Bowl, then trained for the Combine, and now I’m here back in Manhattan training until the draft.
SE: You’re viewed as one of the top offensive linemen in this year’s draft. What has that been like?
CW: It’s been rewarding, and it just goes to show how much hard work pays off. It’s an honor to be at the top, but we have to keep grinding. It’s not over yet.
SE: You’ve described yourself as a “technically sound player” in the past, and that aspect of your game seems to really help your draft stock. What do you credit that mindset to?
CW: Ever since I came to K-State, Coach (Charlie) Dickey was teaching us to be technically sound, so I give him a lot of credit for that, but all the coaches (at K-State) they’ve really helped me to be where I am today. They all taught me how to be a good man and to be a good football player as well.
SE: Has it been difficult to switch positions from tackle in college to guard and even a little center while training for the NFL?
CW: I’m projected as a guard and I played my last two years at K-State as a tackle, so it was kind of surprising to me to see myself at the top of the boards, but I think I’ve shown that I can play both, guard and tackle, and even center. It’s been tough to transition a little bit, but I feel comfortable in both tackle and guard, and I’m starting to feel more comfortable at center now. If I can just keep adding those different elements to my game, I feel like that will only add to my draft stock.
SE: Is it a relief to have pro day and the combine behind you?
CW: Yeah, those few weeks were pretty stressful, so I’m glad that they’re over, but I’m still training and getting ready for the draft.
SE: You have the potential to go pretty early in the draft. What would it mean to you to be K-State’s first first-round pick since 2009?
CW: It would mean a lot to me. I just have to say thanks to everyone who has helped me through to this point – my coaches, my family, my fiancé – I couldn’t be where I am today without them.
The 2016 NFL Draft begins on April 28, and will take place in Chicago’s Auditorium Theater. Round one will be aired on ESPN starting at 7 p.m. (CT) on April 28, while rounds two and three will be aired on April 29, beginning at 6 p.m. Rounds four through seven begin at noon on April 30. K-State football currently has the longest active draft streak in the Big 12 as a Wildcat has been drafted for 22 consecutive years dating back to Thomas Randolph’s second-round pick in 1994.