Cooper Beebe could be ideal long-term investment for the Chiefs in 2024 NFL Draft

The Kansas State lineman should be pro ready from the start, and he'd give the Chiefs tons of long-term flexibility up front.
NFL Combine
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For all of the ink spilled around the Kansas City Chiefs and what they should do or not do in the 2024 NFL Draft, most of the concern and proverbial column inches (dated reference) fit inside the categories of wide receiver and offensive tackle. Those are major needs and the draft is deep in both, so it makes sense why analysts and fans are linking roster needs with draft class strengths.

But there are other needs to consider for the Chiefs with very real prospects waiting to help—and one just so happens to be local.

Cooper Beebe is a bull of a guard, a decorated prospect who excelled at Kansas State for the last few years and brings a wealth of starting experiences and accolades to the next level. The idea of an interior lineman isn't likely going to be that popular but the truth is that the team that picks Beebe would be making one of the safest picks possible.

Given the departure of Nick Allegretti in free agency and that Trey Smith is heading into his contract year, it makes sense for the Chiefs to consider investing up front. Is Beebe the right guy? We asked JT VanGilder of Bring On The Cats to tell us more about Beebe's game and what to expect on draft weekend.

Cooper Beebe was certainly an excellent player at K-State, but how do you think his skill set will transition to the pro level?

Like most of the best offensive linemen who have come through K-State over the last decade or so, Beebe Cooper's best abilities are his versatility and availability. He played in all 51 career games with 48 starts. Those two things tend to transition well and will make him attractive to NFL GMs and coaches.

Beebe is a bruising, bowling ball of a guard, though he has the speed and agility to play tackle. He played LT early in his career at K-State before the coaches found a suitable guy to replace him on the edge, and he played RT at times this past season due to injuries and other issues on the line.

However, like Cody Whitehair and Dalton Risner (both second-round picks) who spent most of their careers in Manhattan at tackle, in the NFL, Cooper will be a guard—maybe a center—because that's where his skills and size will be put to best use.

Beebe played well in pass protection and even held up against guys like Byron Murphy and T'Vondre Sweat of Texas, two of the top DT prospects in this year's draft. He's got great footwork and a really solid base and uses his leverage well. That base works even better when run blocking, where he regularly created large holes and then was able to release and move downfield to create more opportunities for the runner coming behind him.

Beebe got on SportsCenter more than once for his downfield blocking that led to touchdowns or huge gains, but his greatest strength on the field, besides being able to stay on it, is between his ears, as he reads and reacts so well it makes up for his shorter arms (something that's knocking his draft stock).

Where do you think Beebe would flourish at the next level?

Beebe will likely flourish the most for a team that's got a playcalling split that favors the run, or where the QB is going to take off fairly often—somebody like Philadelphia or Baltimore right now—but can be effective anywhere.

What are going to be his biggest areas of growth as he takes his game to the NFL?

Beebe is already strong while still agile, and won't need to lose any "bad weight" in camp. There's nothing that can be done to improve his arm length or his height, but that never stopped him from being a two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. He'll want to continue to work on his footwork for pass protection, and he'll need to keep improving his timing to help deal with the freakishly fast defensive tackles in the NFL.

What range would you expect for him to hear his name called in the draft?

Twenty years ago, Beebe would have been a first-round lock. Even now, it's possible that a team sees enough value in an interior lineman to pick him up in the first round. But despite great testing numbers and the film and accolades he's already put down, his ceiling as a guard is very likely early second-round. That's just the nature of the NFL in 2024.

Conversely, it would be a stunner if he fell out of the second and into the third. He's the best guard prospect on the board, and there are plenty of teams, even late in round one (including the Ravens and both Super Bowl participants) that need a fresh new starting-capable guard—just likely not at first-round money.

I sincerely hope the Chiefs go 2-for-2 on selecting home-grown talent with the 32nd pick, but my best guess is the Cardinals at 35 or—and Chiefs fans, including his own family, are gonna hate this—the Chargers at 37.