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Why K-State’s Cooper Beebe Should Go in the First Round of the 2024 NFL Draft

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Tech

Did you know K-State has not had an offensive guard selected in the NFL draft since 1974? That is, by far, the longest drought compared to any other position on the field.

In fact, since 1999, K-State has had a player selected from every position other than punter.

(For you trivia buffs out there, the lone K-State punter selected was Bob Coble in 1969 in the 15th round of the draft.)

 

That will change this year, as offensive guard Cooper Beebe is projected to be selected in the second round or higher. My Dad asked me about a week ago, “Cooper Beebe is going to be a first-round pick, don’t you think?” To which I replied, “It doesn’t look like it, but he should be!” Beebe is a no-brainer pick and, in my opinion, will be a starting guard in the NFL for a long time. Why not go with a no-brainer pick in the first round if you were an NFL GM?

There are many reasons I believe Cooper Beebe is a no-brainer first-round pick, but here is one that I heard today. ESPN content producer Paul Hembekides (Hembo) calculated the percentage of first-round picks that “hit” or “miss” based on whether that player signed a second contract with the team that drafted him. Offensive guard has the third highest “hit” rate of all positions…

 

Center – 92% hit rate

Offensive Tackle – 59% hit rate

Offensive Guard – 50% hit rate

Linebacker – 48% hit rate

Quarterback – 46% hit rate

Edge Rusher – 44% hit rate

Defensive Tackle – 40% hit rate

Cornerback – 38% hit rate

Running Back – 38% hit rate

Safety – 34% hit rate

Tight End – 33% hit rate

Wide Receiver – 27% hit rate

Offensive linemen are the surest thing in the first round of the NFL draft. Knowing that, the next question to ask is if Beebe has first-round talent. From my research, all signs point in that direction.

I am not fully briefed on the needs of every team in the draft, but I think someone needing an offensive guard might take a flyer on Cooper Beebe in the first round. College Football News said of Beebe, “If there’s such a thing as a possible franchise guard, he might be it.” I agree with that sentiment, which is why I wouldn’t pass up drafting Beebe, especially if I were drafting in the late first or early second round. According to an NFC draft scout on ESPN, Beebe is “Smart, tough, and strong as an ox. Might be one of the strongest guards I’ve studied in a long while.” Scouts and draft experts are heaping a lot of praise on Beebe.

 

Let’s review some of Beebe’s accomplishments.

  • Three-time first-team All-Big 12 (2021-23)
  • Two-time Big 12 offensive lineman of the year (2022-23)
  • First-team All-American (2022)
  • Unanimous All-American (2023)
  • First consensus All-American offensive lineman in school history.
  • William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist (2023)
  • Outland Trophy finalist (2023)
  • Lombardi Award semifinalist (2023)

Beebe allowed only five sacks among his 1,488 career pass-blocking snaps (according to Pro Football Focus), with four of those coming in his redshirt freshman season of 2020. He has only allowed one sack in his final 42 games.

I’ll type that last sentence again. He has only allowed one sack in his final 42 games. I’ve never seen an impressive statistic quite like that one.

The bottom line? Cooper Beebe should be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. Will he? According to projections that I have seen, it does not look like he will. He is projected to be picked in the second or third round in most mock drafts. It is a mistake for any NFL GM to pass on Beebe once. Twice would be a huge blunder.

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