Cody Whitehair Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Gets to blocks on the second level
Decent knee bend
Enough athleticism to start on the inside
Could play tackle in a pinch
Fit for a zone-blocking scheme
Undersized for tackle and guard
Lacks elite traits: not strong or fast
Not athletic enough to start at tackle
Lacks power, strength
Extremely short arms (31.38)
Summary: If there is one program in college football that produces football players who play very technically sound with good fundamentals, it is Kansas State. Every year, Bill Snyder has players going to the NFL who are very developed in mastering the basics and executing what is called upon them. They aren't always the strongest, fastest, or most athletic, but they clearly have been well-coached for the next level. Whitehair is the Wildcat who fits that description this year.
Whitehair broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and became a Second-Team All-Big XII pick as a sophomore and junior. In 2015, he stayed consistent to his previous years as the starting left tackle for the Wildcats. Whitehair struggled against Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, and games like that illustrated that Whitehair should kick inside in the NFL. That was clear at the Senior Bowl as well.
From a skill-set perspective, Whitehair is a technician. He has good hand placement and knee bend. That helps him to hold his ground and sustain blocks. He has decent feet to slide and mirror while also getting to the second level in the ground game. Whitehair is a well-balanced blocker who was effective in both phases during college.
While Whitehair is a developed and technically sound blocker, he is short on his skill set for the NFL. Whitehair is also undersized for guard and tackle. He really is the size of a starting center. Both at the Senior Bowl and going against quality opponents, Whitehair gets overpowered. At an even 300 pounds, he clearly needs to add strength for the NFL.
Additionally, Whitehair doesn't have the quickness or athleticism to play tackle as a pro. Add in his extremely short arms, and he has to play guard. Given his college experience at left tackle however, Whitehair could move there in the middle of the game if there is an injury. Thus, he could be a versatile backup.
If able, I think Whitehair should move to the middle and play center in the NFL, because his size and lack of quickness won't be as problematic there. He would fit best in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level.
Whitehair could go on the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft. In speaking with a general manger, he said they had Whitehair with late-third-, early fourth-round grade, but wouldn't be surprised if a team took him in the second round. Another team said they had Whitehair in the fourth round. The size issue is hurting him with teams.
Player Comparison: Sam Baker. Whitehair reminds me of a guard version of Baker. Very short arms, not very athletic and lacking strength, yet overachieving; Whitehair could have some quality seasons in the NFL but never will be a top blocker.
NFL Matches: Indianapolis, San Diego, Green Bay, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York Jets, Buffalo, New England, Denver, Kansas City and Seattle
There are a lot of teams that could use a versatile blocker like Whitehair to help their offensive line. The Colts have to upgrade their front as Andrew Luck has been running for his life for years, and it caught up to bite Indianapolis last year. Denver and Kansas City could also use more young competition on their offensive lines.
Every year, it seems like injuries ravage the offensive lines of San Diego and Green Bay. Having a versatile backup would make sense for both teams. The Seahawks need to improve the right side of their line, and Whitehair could compete there for them.
The 49ers, Eagles and Jets all could use some youth on their offensive lines. The Bills could take Whitehair as versatile competitor to push their guards. New England's offensive line was battered and ineffective late in 2015. Adding more blocking talent up front is a necessity for the Patriots.