By Chris Emma–
(CBS) The Bears bolstered their interior line by selecting Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair with their second-round, 56th-overall pick in the NFL Draft on Friday.
“I’m just excited to be a Bear,” Whitehair said.
Entering the second night of the draft with the No. 41 overall pick, the Bears twice traded back before selecting Whitehair in the second round. The 6-foot-4, 301-pound Whitehair played tackle and guard in college, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2015 for his play at left tackle. He started 41 straight games for the Wildcats at one point in his career.
While Whitehair expressed his willingness to play wherever the Bears desire, he sees guard as his stronger suit.
“I’m probably better fit for guard,” Whitehair said.
The Bears agree, with Ryan Pace confirming that Whitehair will play guard. Chicago first moved back from No. 41 by trading with the Bills, who sent the No. 49 pick, a fourth-rounder this year and a fourth-rounder in 2017. The Bears then moved from No. 49 to No. 56 in a deal with the Seahawks, picking up another fourth-rounder this season in the process.
Just before the Bears traded with the Seahawks, the Packers traded up to No. 48 and selected Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs, who may have been Chicago’s hope for the 49th pick.
Pro Football Focus, the analytics-based football site, wrote of the Bears’ selection of Whitehair: “Not flashy, but this is one of the best picks of the draft.”
Many draft evaluators had Whitehair as the top guard available in this class.
Before selecting Whitehair, the Bears took outside linebacker Leonard Floyd at No. 9 overall in the first round Thursday. Chicago selected Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard in the third round later Friday night.
The Bears hold three picks in the fourth round, which starts Saturday at 11 a.m.
Whitehair grew excited for his new opportunity with the Bears when the team’s offensive line coach, Dave Magazu, offered a message: Be ready to play.