Mel Kiper talks Cooper Beebe, Ben Sinnott and other K-State alums ahead of NFL Draft

It could be an eventful few days for Kansas State at the NFL Draft.

Mel Kiper, perhaps the most respected draft expert in the business, thinks two former Wildcats could end up being selected in the second round while a couple more of Chris Klieman’s former players could get picked in the later stages of the event.

In his latest mock draft on ESPN, Kiper projects that the Baltimore Ravens will select offensive lineman Cooper Beebe with the No. 62 overall pick late in Round 2. He also thinks that any team in need of a tight end could pick Ben Sinnott in the second or third round of the draft.

As the draft moves into the later rounds, Kiper says there is a good chance that offensive lineman KT Leveston and edge-rusher Khalid Duke also hear their names called and end up with homes in the NFL.

Other NFL Draft hopefuls from K-State include Phillip Brooks, Christian Duffie, Hayden Gillum and Daniel Green. But Kiper did not mention any of them when he was asked to analyze the Wildcats’ 2024 draft class during a conference call earlier this week.

Each of them may end up chasing their NFL dreams as undrafted free agents.

Here is what he expects from K-State’s top prospects when the NFL Draft begins on April 25 in Detroit:

Early rounds for Cooper Beebe

One of the best offensive linemen in K-State football history is off to the NFL. The 6-foot-3 and 322-pound guard figures to be among the top blockers chosen in this draft. But Kiper doesn’t think he stands much of a chance at getting picked in the first round. He may even have to wait until Round 3.

“Cooper Beebe has great versatility and he played really well,” Kiper said. “He was a kid who obviously wants to be great. His short arms do concern me a bit, though.”

Kiper said with longer arms he could play all five positions on the offensive line at the next level. He played both guard and tackle at K-State. But his ceiling is clearly at guard in the NFL.

“With the way he played, despite having short arms, at 6-3 and 322 pounds he’s a guy who is just a football player. The numbers aren’t going to speak to what type of player he can become. The short arms bother me. That’s why he’s got to be a guard for me. Could he be an insurance policy at tackle? Possibly, I think he will.

“But the position that he has the best chance to be if he wants to be a Pro Bowl caliber or a solid starter, I think it is going to be at guard.”

Praise for Ben Sinnott

Ben Sinnott did a little bit of everything for the Wildcats last season. The versatile tight end was effective as both a blocker and as a receiver on his way to 49 catches for 676 yards and six touchdowns as a junior.

His rise from walk-on to surefire NFL Draft pick was fun to watch. Kiper thinks he has more than enough talent to get selected in the first three rounds.

“He had a couple drops here and there but overall he was really consistent,” Kiper said. “He has length and ran a 4.68 and had a 40-inch vertical. I always like to throw out numbers like that when it matters. This kid is a good football player, and he was a heck of a player for Kansas State.”

Kiper thinks NFL teams will be able to use him in a variety of different roles.

“You can use him as an H-Back, a big tight end or as a fullback,” Kiper said. “He gives you the ability to do a lot of different things and wear a lot of hats on offense. I think he could go as early as the late second round and at worst the third round.”

Keeping an eye on Khalid Duke and KT Leveston

K-State produced four NFL Draft picks last year.

Kiper thinks the same could happen later this month.

The two K-State players he expects to be in the mix for a late-round pick are Khalid Duke and KT Leveston.

Duke is a 6-foot-4 and 246-pound defensive end who made 102 tackles during his college career, including 14 sacks. He played both linebacker and edge-rusher for the Wildcats. Kiper expects him to be a pass-rush specialist in the NFL with potential to be picked in the fifth or sixth round.

Leveston is an offensive lineman who played tackle for K-State. Kiper thinks he is better suited as a guard in the NFL, but he has enough talent to be picked in the final rounds.