Cody Whitehair is not someone who particularly cares what people write about him.
So when asked at the NFL combine what he thought about being NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock’s No. 1 guard — even though he has spent the last two seasons at tackle — it probably should not be considered much of a surprise that Whitehair sort of shrugged.
“I really haven’t got caught up in that too much,” said Whitehair, who grew up two hours from Kansas City in Abilene, Kan.. “I’ve just been trying to focus on the Senior Bowl and getting ready for this. We’ll see where that takes us after this week.”
Whitehair, who checked in at 6 feet 4 and 301 pounds, posted one of the fastest three-cone drills among offensive linemen on Friday. But Mayock noticed that he had only 16 reps on the bench, the second-fewest of the 45 linemen who lifted.
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Now the bench press is not the end-all, be-all. However, it is a test of strength that can give teams an idea of how often a player lifted weights in college.
“His tape is really good,” Mayock said. “The fact he didn’t have the strength on the bench bothers me a little bit, but he’s a smart, tough kid that can play guard.”
However, Whitehair’s impressive three-cone drill — which can reveal the flexibility in a player’s hips and ability to accelerate — is also an indication of one of Whitehair’s strengths, which is working to the second level in the running game.
“I just feel like if you can get up to the guy and get your hands on them, that’s key,” Whitehair said. “So I try to put myself into good position and take great angles up to those second-level (players) and just get my hands on them.”
One other thing that Whitehair has going for him is positional flexibility. Although he has spent the last two seasons at left tackle for the Wildcats, he played left guard and right tackle as a redshirt freshman and left guard as a sophomore.
“I would say (I’m a) guard, but at the end of the day I think I can play both guard and tackle,” Whitehair said. “If somebody needed me to play center as well, I feel like I can master that as well.”
Whitehair, to be sure, is confident that the transition inside will go smoothly.
“I feel like I can use what I learned at Kansas State to really be successful there in the league,” Whitehair said. “I feel like I’m a tough player, I’m a consistent player, and I can help a team out.”