Tale of Two Tackles
Yale left tackle, Kiran Amegadjie, isn't mentioned by draft experts in the same breath as Olu Fashanu of Penn State (ranked 3rd overall on the CBSSports big board) or Joe Alt (ranked 7th). CBSSports doesn't list him at all on their top 150 list. That's understandable. Future NFL superstars typically don't come from the Ivy League.
Franchise left tackles generally come from the 1st round and it is rare to find one outside of the top 50 selections. Normally, something out of the ordinary has to happen to cause a good LT prospect to not get scooped up early. Playing at a small school at a lower level of competition is one such factor. It was a key reason why my pro comp for Amegadjie, Terron Armstead, wasn't drafted early.
It wasn't a shock that Armstead became such a good NFL player. He was a phenomenal athlete and lit up the Combine with unbelievable testing results, running a blazing fast 4.71 seconds in the 40, jumping 34.5'' in the vert and putting up 31 bench press reps. He stood 6'5'' tall, 305 pounds, with 34'' arms. Armstead played at Arkansas Pine Bluff. His draft profile said that he'd duck his head into run blocks, get lost at the 2nd level trying to block LBs, got bull rushed backwards, needed to improve his hand accuracy, and get stronger in the lower body.
Armstead didn't play in a pro-style offense and had raw technique. At the Senior Bowl, he showed little ability to kick slide properly. He'd open his hips almost immediately, making his outside shoulder vulnerable. He got bull rushed backwards towards the QB. He became a spectator at the 2nd level, watching the LB run by him. In the 4th quarter of the Senior Bowl game, he got chip help from the RB, but still got beaten for a sack, because he didn't slide his feet laterally, so the DE went by him like a human turnstile, splitting the LT and the RB. Despite all the rawness in his game, Armstead's upside ceiling was obvious. He was very athletic and strong. A project for sure, but one with a potential big payoff.
The top 2 picks in the 2013 draft were Eric Fisher from Central Michigan and Luke Joekel from Texas A&M. Both of those prospects were considered to be surefire franchise LTs. Joekel in particular was viewed as a very safe pick (his draft profile said he was a technician who would be a starting NFL left tackle for many years.) Even in a pretty crowded OT group, Armstead was a name to circle, because of his intriguing athleticism and size. The depth at OT was one factor that pushed David Bakhtiari down into the 4th round of that draft. Bakhtiari would ultimately prove to be the best LT of the bunch.
Armstead went on to become a Pro Bowl LT for the Saints, anchoring many fantastic offensive lines. Injuries have plagued his career in recent years. Meanwhile, both Fisher and Joekel had disappointing careers relative to their draft position. Fisher developed into an okay starting OT. Joekel got injured his rookie season, then after he struggled at LT got moved inside to guard. He suffered a knee injury in 2016. He played one more season in the NFL after that, with the Seahawks, but that was the end of his pro career.
Name: Kiran Amegadjie. True Senior. I was unable to find any info about how to pronounce his name or his age.
School: Yale. Studying economics. Intends to become an investment banker.
Size: Listed 6'5'' tall, 326 pounds. Reportedly has 36 3/4'' arms, which would be very long. Was listed at 295 pounds in 2020, 318 in 2022. NFLDB lists his 40 time at 5.1 seconds.
2 star recruit from Hinsdale, Illinois. His HS recruiting profile listed his weight at 260 pounds.
The 2020 Yale football season was cancelled, due to covid. In 2021, Amegadjie started all 10 games of their season at RG. In 2022, he started all 10 games at LT. He started 4 games in 2023, but suffered a torn quad and had season ending surgery. He's not expected to be able to play in the Senior Bowl.
Per PFF, did not allow a sack in 2022 at LT and allowed 1 sack in 2021 playing at RG.
Trains with former Bengals OT, Willie Anderson.
PFF Big Board: 86th overall prospect
Drafttek: 146th overall (5th round)
NFLDB: 101st overall, 4th round projection. For negatives, they say he has heavy feet, struggles to mirror quickness, stiff in space, oversets and gets beaten inside, too mechanical in pass pro, plays too high, shaky in pass protection.
CBSSports: Not listed in top 150
Luke Easterling mock draft: 86th overall selection (3rd rd)
PFN simulator: 110th overall (4th rd)
PFN Big Board: 133rd overall (late 4th to early 5th rd)
BillsFambase board (fanspeak): not ranked
Rigdon (fanspeak): not ranked
Shoup (fanspeak): 182nd (6th round)
NFLMDD simulator: not ranked
A bully on the field, plays with an attitude and an edge. The first thing that jumps out about Amegadjie is his aggression and physicality. He wants to bury opponents and drive them into the ground. One run play, the DE loops inside, and the LT chases after him, just so he can deliver a shot. Combo block, delivers devasting blow to the DT, sending the undersized FCS opponent flying 2 yards down the LOS (but since LT unloads on the DT so powerfully, he's now off balance trying to climb to the 2nd lvl and the LB beats him in the joust, then stuffs the RB.) Has a hunger to sustain and finish blocks, fights hard. One pass block, does a nice job mirroring the DE, then buries the DE into the ground so aggressively that LT's helmet pops off. Repeatedly delivers violent blows and shoves to defenders.
Quick out of his stance. Able to explode down the line to cut off slanting penetration.
Explosive going to 2nd level. Good athlete. Has speed as a puller.
Generates power as a drive blocker to turn DEs into sleds and move them off the LOS.
Flashes good grip strength. Generates torque. Very strong once he properly plants his base. Able to anchor vs FCS level opponents.
Stifling size and length. Those poor Ivy Leage and FCS level opponents, they're too small, so once he extends his arms and locks them up, they're done. Uses his length well, gets his hands inside frame of defender. He's so much bigger than his small opponents, it is like a lunar eclipse. Times his punch well.
Strong upper body. Power reservoir he can tap into to jolt opponents.
Battles hard to defend the blocking angle on kick out blocks. Active feet after initial contact. Able to move his feet to mirror the defender.
Has played on both sides of the line and at both OT and G. Since he's an aggressive and physical player, he might be able to play inside, giving him position flexibility. If he doesn't win a starting OT job, he might be tried as a G or as a versatile backup who can fill in at different spots.
Smart, he's an Ivy League guy.
Plays in a spread system offense with WRs in very wide splits. Not a pro style system. Never takes a traditional pass set. Similar to other college spread teams, the LT is in a 2 point stance and just kinds of walls off. RPO type plays and quick passes. All shotgun snaps.
Loses balance too much. Lunges forward. Falls off blocks when he's not centered. Helmet gets too far ahead of toes on run blocks.
Base is too narrow on run blocks, feet too close together. Base sometimes narrows after engagement in pass protection and he becomes human turnstile.
Pad level too high. His center of gravity drifts too high. Doesn't play with enough knee bend. Looks to be vulnerable to having his arms pulled down, but FCS opponents not skilled enough to consistently exploit this weakness.
Lacks core power after engagement.
Poor technique on combo blocks. Lacks flexibility on combos.
Overly aggressive on blocks. Needs to have better patience and composure on both run and pass blocks. Goes after LBs at 2nd level too aggressively, losing the blocking angle and allowing them to run past him. Lacks body control at 2nd lvl. On combo block, LT should immediately recognize that he should leave DT and go directly to the LB, but instead LT is determined to shove the DT, causing him to completely whiff on the LB, who stuffs the RB for no gain.
When engaged in pass pro, sometimes appears to lunge forward, allowing the DE to slip around him, turning reps that look like he should win into losses. Hand placements not always accurate, resulting in him losing hand fights and not being able to control the defender.
Awareness to blitzing LBs could improve.
Doesn't have an ideally proportioned build, because it looks to me like his legs are slightly long relative to his torso, causing him to have a slightly high center of gravity.
Appears to have limited change of direction quickness to cut off fast LBs attacking the LOS from the 2nd level.
Only about 1 season's worth of games as a starting LT.
Draft Grade and Pro Comp
3rd round grade. Terron Armstead (3rd round 2013, Saints, Arkansas Pine-Bluff)
One reason I'm slotting him in the 3rd round is because that's where Matt Peart was drafted in 2020 by the NYG out of UConn. Peart was 6'7'' tall, 318 pounds, with very long 36 5/8'' arms and ran 5.06 seconds in the 40. Peart has been a backup for the Giants and had a number of injuries. He started 5 games in 2021 and had a 63.0 PFF grade. In limited action as a rookie, he had a promising 69.7 grade. In recent years, he's only seen limited playing time and had very poor PFF grades. He's currently on IR with a shoulder injury.
Kiran Amegadjie is a raw prospect who needs substantial coaching to improve his technique and consistency. He lacks playing experience and faced a low level of college competition. His ceiling, however, is as high as any other left tackle prospect in the 2024 draft. He's athletic with great size. He's physical and aggressive, not a timid player. If he could develop, he could be a Pro Bowl left tackle someday.
The first post I did was on the Penn State left tackle, Olu Fashanu, who is projected by many experts to be a top 5 overall pick. Fashanu is a better player than Amegadjie right now, but I believe that there is a fair argument that Amegadjie has a higher ceiling than Fahsanu. Is the primary reason that one guy is ranked at the very top of the draft and the other one isn't even listed on some draft boards merely the fact that one guy plays at Penn State and the other one plays for Yale?
Kiran Amegadjie is definitely a name that Rams fans should circle. How Snead and the scouts view him and where he's expected to be taken (Braxton Jones, another small school OT that I liked, was a late 5th round pick) could have major implications for draft strategy and what the Rams decide to do with their 1st round selection. If you didn't know about this player before, now you are on notice. Watch out for "that guy from Yale" in the 2024 NFL draft.