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2024 NFL Draft interview: Yale OT Kiran Amegadjie

WCG’s lead draft analyst spoke with arguably the top FCS player in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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NCAA Football: Yale at Connecticut Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

There have been five FCS offensive linemen selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft in the previous three drafts. As we head closer to the 2024 NFL Draft, Yale offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie figures to be a strong candidate to keep that streak going.

A three-year starter in college with tackle and guard starting experience, Amegadjie is a freak athlete with 36 3/4-inch arms. For reference, that ties for the largest reported arm length for an offensive tackle since 1999. The Hinsdale, Illinois native has grown into quite the force at the FCS level, which has him firmly on the radar of NFL teams.

Amegadjie suffered a season-ending quad injury and recently underwent surgery, but his tape at the collegiate level and his accolades will earn him strong consideration as a draft pick from NFL teams. He recently spoke with Windy City Gridiron about his preseason honors, his relationship with former Pro Bowl tackle Willie Anderson, his world travels, and more.

JI: You headed into this year a preseason FCS All-American and a Senior Bowl watchlist member. What did those honors mean to you, and what was your mindset coming into the season with those honors at hand?

KA: I obviously appreciate the recognition, especially in such a big way, but the most important thing was actually proving myself and actually doing those things. I think some people get lost in preseason honors and think that it means that they’ve done something, and that wasn’t my mentality going into this year. I had a lot to live to prove to myself, and I still have a long way to go to reach my full potential. The main thing was actually going out and doing it and proving that I am all those things.

JI: You had the chance to work with Willie Anderson leading into this season. Can you speak to how that experience has helped you so far in the regular season?

KA: Yeah, Willie’s been a huge help for me in so many areas. Over the summer, [we worked] a lot of technique work and movement and agility, working on my feet, mirroring them up with my hands, especially in pass pro. You’re doing a lot of this stuff physically, and then he taught me a lot about the mental aspects of playing offensive line: how to take care of my body...we still meet to talk every week, [and he] helps to get ready for a game plan a little bit, understanding what I’m going to face that week. Postgame, we watch film together. He’s a huge, huge asset and a huge help for me, and I’m really grateful to have him in my circle.

JI: That’s a great relationship to have. How did it come about?

KA: I’ve known him since since I was little. I watched him play growing up, so I knew who he was. After last season, I wanted to do something to set myself apart, something to take my game to the next level, so I reached out online, got in contact with him, handed over some film. He got back to me, and we got to work over the summer eventually. I spent seven weeks down there over the summer, and we got a lot of really good work in.

JI: Two things in particular stand out to me when I’ve watched you: your athleticism and your length. When you have the long arms you have and the lateral quickness you have, how does that change your approach as a blocker compared to the average prospect?

KA: I think for me, it makes my job a lot easier that I have a lot of God-given abilities that I’m very blessed to have, especially my length in pass pro; it really helps me keep guys off my body. It’s almost like a boxer. When a boxer has the reach advantage, it’s their job to keep the other guy in range. I use my length that way, as a range-finder. [It] slows down a lot of rushes, being able to play so far off my body and still be in control is huge in slowing down a defensive end’s rush and being as successful as possible.

JI: There have been a lot of FCS offensive linemen to not only make the jump to the NFL, but to thrive and get drafted early. Does seeing some of those guys get drafted help you in any way?

KA: Definitely. I think it gives me a blueprint. I’m someone who really likes to learn from other people who have done it before me, which is why I went to work. I watch so much of myself, and some of the top guys being in college. as well. For me, it helps give me a little bit of a blueprint of what I need to put on, from the types of things that people are looking for. Especially coming from [the FCS level], I’m in an even more unique situation where I come from the Ivy League. That demands a lot more for me in terms of what teams want to see on film: dominance, especially against my competition. I’m happy playing there — I love playing the Ivy League, and hopefully, they’ll be a little bit more attention to the Ivy League. We have some really, really good players in our league. But yeah, I think it’s awesome to get a blueprint from those guys who have done it before me, but I’m also trying to make my own path and do something that nobody else has done before.

JI: Being a student athlete requires a strong work ethic, but that’s especially true at the Ivy League level. How have you managed to balance both football and school the way you have?

KA: Obviously, coming in was an adjustment period. I learned to use the resources around me and the people around me to help myself on the academic side and learn a lot about time management. [It’s] just a maturation process, at the end of the day. It’s something that can be handled by thousands of players that did before me. I think the big thing was just learning how to ask for help when I needed it.

JI: I actually saw on LinkedIn you had an internship lined up this past summer. How did that all go down?

KA: So my internship, I actually ended up not doing it to be able to go train. I was supposed to have an internship — I had two lined up actually for the summer, and I decided to decline both of those opportunities and to focus strictly on football. I realized the opportunity in front of me, and this is what I’ve been dreaming for my whole life. I want to do everything possible to make sure that I take this process seriously, and I do it the right way, and I take advantage of all my opportunities.

JI: How do you spend your free time outside of football?

KA: I love traveling. I love being with my friends, playing video games, and being my family as well. I think I’m really lucky to say that one of my hobbies is traveling. I’ve seen a lot of a lot of cool things in my life, and I love experiencing new cultures. A lot of people my age don’t have some of the breadth of knowledge about the world. I’ve been blessed by my parents to put me in position to experience a lot of cool things around the world.

JI: What are some of the coolest places you’ve traveled so far?

KA: I think the most relaxing vacations I’ve taken were either to Bali or the Maldives. Some of the cool places I’ve been, I think Dubai was really cool. Australia...I went to Qatar last year for the World Cup. I suppose those are my favorite destinations.

JI: You guys don’t mess around! That’s really cool.

KA: Luckily, my mom worked at United Airlines, so she kept her flight benefits, and we’ve been super lucky to do that.

JI: Is there anywhere you haven’t been to yet that you really want to knock off your list?

KA: Yeah, the last two continents I haven’t been to are South America and Antarctica. I’d really want to go to Antarctica, actually. There’s a couple of cruises that go down there, so I’ll do at some point in my life.

JI: Let’s say I’m an NFL general manager. What would I be getting if I drafted you to my team?

KA: [You’d be] getting someone who wants to make the NFL a career...someone who wants to come in and work from Day 1 to be the best that he can be...someone who will work from Day 1 to make the team the best they can be, to help the players around him, to challenge people, to push myself day-in, day-out. I think you’re getting someone who’s a very driven player, and someone who wants to be the best, and someone who has the ability to be the best but doesn’t take it for granted. I’ve really worked for everything I’ve done so far on the field.

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