One of the most heart-warming stories in the draft may prove to be the biggest steal. The Eagles did their homework on this prince.
Prince Tega Wanogho (6-foot-5, 308 pounds) had been valued at a third-round pick but medical red flags dropped him down draft boards. Philadelphia never flinched and anxiously used a sixth-round selection (pick No. 210) on a player who could morph into a starting left tackle in the NFL.
He started 12 games last season for Auburn before undergoing a scope procedure on his knee and sitting out the Senior Bowl with a “lateral meniscus tear.” The injury caused him to miss the Combine, too.
“Yeah, it was a lateral meniscus tear, so they had to go in and like clean it out with a scoop,” Wanogho told reporters. “You know, like it was better in like the beginning of the season and we didn’t know if it was a minor strain, and come to find it was actually something worse. So it’s just something like the little time I actually got right now I’m going to keep rehabbing and should be back and 100 percent in a little bit.”
The injury isn’t considered serious and it could prove fortuitous for the Eagles. With growing uncertainty around second-year tackle Andre Dillard — and two other starters, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks, returning from injury — the team needs offensive line help. Wanogho not only provides immediate depth, but he also could be groomed for a bigger role. Especially if Dillard doesn’t pan out.
“I wasn’t really expecting the Eagles to actually draft me, but I guess coach actually saw something special in me,” Wanogho told reporters. “Yeah, just got come in and actually show them they made the right choice.”
Nigerian Prince Showed Up in the U.S. with $20
NFL Network featured Prince Tega Wanogho in a short profile that documented his NFL journey. He grew up in Nigeria where he was a star swimmer, soccer player and basketball standout. Then, at age 16, he was jettisoned to the United States with only $20 and a dream.
What did he do? He survived. Wanogho made the most of his opportunity by taking a basketball scholarship at Edgewood Academy in Alabama. He had never played organized football prior to high school, so he gave it a shot for one year as a way to keep in shape. It soon changed his life. The kid from Nigeria went on to start in 32 games at Auburn while earning All-SEC honors.
“You know, the plan from the very start wasn’t football. I can tell you that,” Wanogho said. “God always has a special plan, and come to the United States like just a kid with a dream, just to see. And, you know, I try to reminisce back and just think about it, and it’s been a long journey.”
Scouting Report: Prince Tega Wanogho
Prince Tega Wanogho has the physical traits to excel at the next level. He’s got the size, speed, agility, hands and loose hips — all thanks to his incredible basketball background. He also has one more amazing trait: a regal pedigree. Wanogho’s real grandfather was the king of a Nigerian village, thus making the kid with the name Prince an actual prince. His story will be made into a movie one day.
Bleacher Report questioned his length (33 1/2 arms) while praising his raw athleticism in the same breath in a scouting report.
Prince Tega Wanogho is a former basketball and soccer player who moved to the U.S. from Nigeria during high school, originally to play basketball. His size obviously enticed coaches on the football team, prompting the multisport athlete to give football a shot. He is still incredibly raw, having only played competitive football for a few years, but there’s no doubting his talent. While he doesn’t have ideal length, Tega Wanogho shows impressive hand usage and looks like an elite athlete in space at his size. He’s a bit scheme-specific, but with continued development, he could be a year-after-year starter.
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