History Says Forgotten Bears Draft Pick Soon Becomes Valuable

The only Bears draft pick who couldn't practice during offseason work could become extremely valuable when he practices in training camp based on past Bears offensive line healthy.
Kiran Amegadjie picks the brain of offensive line coach Chris Morgan during Bears rookie camp. Amegadjie is expected to be healthy for the start of training camp.
Kiran Amegadjie picks the brain of offensive line coach Chris Morgan during Bears rookie camp. Amegadjie is expected to be healthy for the start of training camp. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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The Bears worked short-handed throughout all offseason practices even when everyone was healthy enough to practice at some point.

Even right guard Nate Davis made a brief minicamp appearance at one practice after missing all of OTAs with what was presumed to be an injury.

One player they haven't seen at all is rookie left tackle Kiran Amegadjie, the Chicago area prep player from Yale who was drafted in Round 3 this year. Amegadjie will be the Bears mystery man when they arrive at training camp after he sat out all of the offseason rehabbing from October, 2023 quad muscle surgery.

The first mystery is whether he'll even be ready to practice. Others are what he can and is asked to do after missing all of the offseason.

The expectation is he will be ready and the time element suggests this is the case.

"We project that," coach Matt Eberflus said when quarterback school for rookies closed last week. "Again, we’ll have to see how the rehab goes in the summer and we'll project all our guys who missed some time to be back to start camp. But again we'll see that as we go."

Amegadjie was out of mind but not out of sight. He stood in the background at practices, often near offensive line coach Chris Morgan and showed progress.

"Just the mental side of it," Eberflus said. "His retention and his ability to spit concepts back, be it protection, blocking schemes, he's been good at that part."

So Amegadjie won't be totally lost when he reports.




There was no great surprise when Amegadjie reported for rookie camp and did nothing on the field. He hadn't really worked out in the offseason work prior to the draft, except to do 21 reps in the bench press at 225 pounds during a pro day. He had come into Halas Hall focused on learning while he watched.

"I'm learning everything," he said at rookie camp. "I want to be as versatile as possible. I want to be able to contribute wherever I can."

This includes tackle or even guard. He played left tackle at Yale but also guard. He was the left guard starter in 2021 before moving to left tackle. In all, he took 919 plays at left tackle, 669 at left guard.



"I'm not set on one thing," Amegadjie said after he came to Halas Hall. "I'm a football player. I'll play wherever you need me."

It would seem he's ideally suited to tackle, though, with arms that are 36-plus inches, longest of anyone on the offensive line.

"Like I said, I'm a football player," Amegadjie said. "Offensive line is offensive line. Obviously, there are different nuances, but you go out there and you block and you do your job. Thats' it. That's what I do."

This attitude could be critical for a player who is obviously not going to be slated as an opening-day starter. After he was drafted, GM Ryan Poles was asked if he was expected to push Braxton Jones for left tackle starter.

"Potentially, probably not Year 1, but again, I don’t want to put a ceiling on Kiran either," Poles said. "I think we'll open that up and kind of see how it goes."

Having Amegadjie as depth would be a great luxury. This would be a positive considering what has happened at guard during this offseason, last regular season and even in the first year of this coaching regime.

Without Davis available, they've had to look closely at free agent journeyman tackle/guard Matt Pryor with starters. They also had Ja'Tyre Carter available but the sixth-round 2022 pick focused more on left guard. They could always abort the center competition between Coleman Shelton and Ryan Bates and put Bates at right guard because most of his NFL plays have been there with Buffalo. And then there is always the possibility of moving Teven Jenkins back to right guard from left guard and playing someone else at left guard, presumably Amegadjie or Carter.

"We've struggled with flexibility in the past, so he has that ability and then we'll see where he ascends to," was the way Poles summed it up.

Considering only one offensive lineman started every game in each of the last two seasons, only three started more than 12 games last year and only two in 2022, it's a good bet Amegadjie goes from a forgotten player at offseason work to a contributor during the regular season even if his rookie year was meant to be for learning.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

Gene Chamberlain


BearDigest.com publisher Gene Chamberlain has covered the Chicago Bears full time as a beat writer since 1994 and prior to this on a part-time basis for 10 years. He covered the Bears as a beat writer for Suburban Chicago Newspapers, the Daily Southtown, Copley News Service and has been a contributor for the Daily Herald, the Associated Press, Bear Report, CBS Sports.com and The Sporting News. He also has worked a prep sports writer for Tribune Newspapers and Sun-Times newspapers.