Yale Athletics

When Yale football fans tune into the NFL Draft on Thursday night, they’ll be greeted by a sight that they won’t be used to: a player they watched at the Yale Bowl.

Offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie ’24 is projected by many draft experts to be selected anywhere from the late second round to the third round, a position that would make him the highest-drafted Bulldog since the Dallas Cowboys selected Jeff Rohrer ’82 in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft.

“This has been my dream for my whole life,” Amegadjie said. “When I came to Yale, I had this goal. When I walked on campus, so you know, I just worked at it day in, day out. And it wasn’t easy, but it took a lot of consistent hard work. It took a lot of hard times for me to learn a lot of lessons about myself along the way. But at the end of the day, football is a game, and I just love to play the game.”

For Amegadjie, that dream is now almost certainly going to be fulfilled, but that wasn’t always the case.

Going into his third year at Yale, the tackle already had NFL scouts coming to Yale practices and games to see him perform, but that all stopped when he suffered a partial quad tendon tear just four games into the 2023 season.

Left in limbo with the injury, Amegadjie was forced to reconsider whether returning to Yale would be a better option than declaring for the draft as he had originally planned.

“I didn’t know if I would need another year and what teams really thought of me post-injury,” Amegadjie said of his decision on whether to return to school or declare for the draft. “I got a lot of good feedback from my agent, from teams, and it really came down to the fact that my dream has always been to play in the NFL. So I thought, you know, we got good feedback, and there wasn’t really a change in my stock. So I thought it was the best time for me to take this opportunity and achieve a lifelong dream.”

Despite not playing for much of the season, NFL scouts still hold Amegadjie in high regard, especially given his experience at left tackle, one of the highest-valued positions. His pro-ready frame, measuring in at the combine at 6’5” and 323 pounds, is rare for an Ivy League player and helps assuage concerns some scouts have about the lower level of play he faces in the Ancient Eight. 

The injury kept Amegadjie from performing any of the physical tests when he attended the NFL Combine, but his tape from the games he did play was impressive enough to earn him an invite to participate in interviews with teams at the Combine. 

While Amegadjie is often lauded for his versatility, having played at right guard in his first season at Yale, his size, notably his 36 ⅛”-long arms that allow him to stifle edge rushers, NFL team’s all see him as playing at the far more valuable tackle position. 

For Amegadjie, playing out on the end of the line is just fine by him, as he noted his love for the physicality of the position.

“My favorite play is duo out to the left. It’s a super physical run scheme,” Amegadjie said when asked what his favorite play call was to get in the huddle. “Especially running to my side, I love that responsibility. So that was my favorite play that we ran.”

Now, in late April with many Yale students preparing to move to new cities and meet new coworkers, Amegadjie finds himself in a similar position.

The difference he points out, though, is that instead of knowing that he’s bound for New York City or Los Angeles like many other Yalies, there are 29 different cities that he could be moving to.

“I won’t know until draft night and some people have inklings in the corporate world, you have inklings of, you know, where you might go based off a good interview, based on feedback that you’re getting and they’re a lot more open with it. But it’s kind of different in the NFL, you’re kind of left waiting. And you never really know until you get the call.”

Beyond the city, Amegadjie also has to come to grips with a different kind of coworker.

Whenever he does make his way into the starting lineup, Amegadjie will have to face down some of the best players in the world at their own jobs. However, that is not to say he’s scared of the challenge.

“I’m excited for the challenge. But, you know, those are people that I’ve been watching for the last couple years on TV and you just watched them wreak havoc, and it’s kind of weird to think about, like, in a couple months, I’m gonna have to stop them. It’s super exciting and it’s also, obviously, a very surreal moment.”

Amegadjie does know, however, where he’ll be for the draft, as he said he’ll be back home in Chicago with friends and family waiting for that call he’s dreamt of his whole life. 

Rounds two and three of the NFL Draft will air on ESPN on Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.

Spencer King is an Editor for the Sports desk. He has covered the Yale football and women's ice hockey teams. He has also previously covered the Yale men's lacrosse team and most things Bulldogs sports. Spencer is a junior in Davenport College and is majoring in Political Science.