After four interior linemen were selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, we may not see one go on Day 1 in 2023. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent in this class.
Kansas State G Cooper Beebe leads the charge and should follow in the footsteps of Wildcat OTs-turned-iOLs Cody Whitehair (56th, 2016) and Dalton Risner (41st, 2019), who were drafted in Round 2.
Cooper Beebe NFL Draft Profile
- Position: G
- School: Kansas State
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’4″, 322 pounds
Sports run through the Beebe family blood. Both of Cooper’s parents played college sports and spent part of their careers coaching.
And all three of his brothers suited up for high school football, with the oldest (Colton) playing college ball with Minnesota and the youngest (Camden) a 2023 Kansas State recruit.
At Piper High School in Kansas City, Kansas, Cooper participated in shot put (placed third in the 2017 state competition), basketball, and, of course, football.
But Beebe wasn’t just a dominant offensive lineman who earned first-team all-state honors in 2018. Throughout his high school career, he produced 128 tackles (34 for loss), 10.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles as a defensive tackle.
Multiple Power Five teams sought his services, with Kansas and Minnesota earning the most attention from the three-star recruit.
But ultimately, Beebe decided to sign with Kansas State, making the full-time switch to the O-line as a true freshman. The move paid off for both parties, as Beebe has started for the Wildcats since 2020: 13 games at LT, seven and counting at LG, four at RG, and three at RT.
He received first-team all-Big-12 recognition at left tackle in 2021 and entered 2022 on the Outland Trophy Watchlist, given to the best interior lineman in college football.
However, Beebe isn’t only successful on the field. In each of the past two years, he’s made the academic all-Big-12 first team as a secondary education major.
Cooper Beebe Scouting Report
Kansas State offensive coordinator Collin Klein is a big fan of his big man up front:
“He’s an absolute stud. Top to bottom, he’s always helping. Just being able to communicate and help those guys solve problems before they happened. … And obviously being extremely gifted and hard-working. He’s all-around top shelf.”
But dominating on the collegiate stage is one thing. Does Beebe’s scouting report translate to the NFL? Spoiler alert: it does.
Where Beebe Wins
Statistics aren’t the be-all-end-all when evaluating, but some numbers weigh more than others. For example, Beebe hasn’t allowed a sack in his last 23 starts (13 at LT in 2021). That doesn’t happen by accident.
“Good” interior offensive line tape is often boring. They lose few reps, complete their assignments, but do little to excite. However, “great” tape has immense replay value. You want to see the guard/center pancake their opponent, form a stonewall for their QB, and pave running lanes. Beebe falls into this bracket.
The Kansas State OL is a thickly-built 6’4″ and weighs in at 320+ pounds. Seriously, he’s a tank on the interior. But what makes Beebe worthy of the iOL1 mantle (in my eyes) is the athleticism he pairs with his burly frame.
He’s light on his feet with speed to mirror even quicker defenders on the inside. That’s why the Wildcats felt comfortable with him starting at left tackle last year.
And while no NFL team should expect Beebe to succeed on the outside against far superior athletes, his film at OT showcased a base level of agility and footwork.
Laterally, Beebe can efficiently reach/down block, hitting his landmarks with quick lead, drop, or slide steps. He’s also able to turn and seal in zone-blocking concepts, crossing the defender’s face and anchoring in the hole.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
More impressively, the Wildcats OL has the lower-body movement skills to reset his base, pull across the formation, and operate in space at the second level. Meanwhile, Beebe’s fluidity and reactionary athleticism allow him to pick up stunts and blitzes in pass protection, flipping his hips to redirect opponents.
But don’t get it twisted; although Beebe is a functional athlete for his size, he packs a punch. He locks and loads his hands to fire them into the defender’s chest plate accurately. On top of stunning opponents at the line, the Kansas State OL’s grip strength manipulates them against their will.
And as you’d expect from his dense frame, Beebe anchors extremely well. He can absorb power from bull rushes like Kirby, anchor, and transmit it right back to defensive linemen.
Additionally, his natural leverage and core strength cause DTs to try and win with speed or technique rather than brute force.
In the run game, Beebe is the definition of a people-mover. He could open his own cemetery with how often he displaces bodies and puts them in the dirt. And with a sought-after controlled mean streak, Beebe is an OL coach’s dream prospect.
Add in his special-teams experience on punt coverage and field goal block units, visible football IQ, and noted leadership, and you have an offensive lineman few teams wouldn’t have high on their boards.
Beebe’s Areas for Improvement
Alright, it’s time to come down to Earth a bit. If you couldn’t tell, I’m extremely high on Beebe — and I’m not alone. But it’s important to note his areas for improvement and where his game may not be best suited.
Beebe doesn’t own suffocating length, limiting his overall room for error as a technician. His leverage suffers at times, and longer defenders can get hands inside and yank him off-platform.
As a pass protector, the Kansas State guard is prone to oversetting and overextending to try and rectify his average range. If he isn’t able to land his initial punch, he’ll often lose balance with too much weight passed his center of gravity.
The Wildcats product does have the athleticism to rebound in such scenarios, but being a step behind fleet-footed DTs is never ideal. And when he anticipates moves to the inside or outside, he can lack the foot speed to redirect his momentum.
Furthermore, Beebe doesn’t possess elite athletic traits, although he has more than enough juice to survive — even thrive — in the league. The absence of such tools can cap his ability to get outside of DTs as a zone blocker.
MORE: PFN Mock Draft Simulator
In both phases, Beebe can get complacent with his positioning, stopping his feet. This can occasionally allow second- or even third-effort penetrations from defenders who appear halted initially.
Moreover, his lapses with extensions are exacerbated when Beebe dips his head into contact. Not only does it take his eyes off his opponent, but it also contributes to more weight ahead of his toes.
Defensive linemen with a length advantage can get inside Beebe’s numbers, causing his pad level to rise. But the K-State OL can do this on his own accord as well, locking his hips and popping up at the point of attack.
When moving to the second level, Beebe sometimes overpursues angles, leaving avenues for defenders to slice behind him. He can also get eager to make a block, charging LBs off-balance and losing the advantage he’d have had he stayed square.
It’s important to note that many of Beebe’s “negatives” are coachable and come down to consistency. Starting multiple games and cross-training at three different positions over his career — while admirable and highlighting his versatility — has detracted from Beebe’s ability to hone his craft.
Current Draft Projection for Kansas State G Cooper Beebe
College-to-pro projections don’t get much easier than Beebe’s. He’s an interior lineman with the athletic foundation, size, and collegiate tape that warrants Day 2 capital — possibly even top-50 if he tests well in the pre-draft process.
The Kansas State guard has the blend of size and athleticism to produce in any scheme. However, his aggressiveness and overwhelming physicality make him a prime candidate to succeed in gap/power-heavy systems.
Deficiencies in arm length and top-tier mobility hinder Beebe’s ceiling. But we already know what his floor is — a reliable blocker that will pave lanes in the ground game and serve as a sentry in pass protection.
He may not be a household name like Daisy Red Ryder, but Beebe has certainly put himself on the NFL’s radar.