After six years as a Quaker, Prince Emili will be staying in red and blue, as the defensive lineman signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft at the end of April.
In doing so, he became the fourth Penn football alumnus currently active in the NFL, along with Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brandon Copeland, and free agent guard Greg Van Roten.
While at Penn, Emili racked up two first team All-Ivy nods, including one this past season, and tallied 11 sacks, 162 tackles, and 30.5 tackles for loss across 37 total games.
Despite making it to rookie minicamp, however, Emili still faces the daunting challenge of vying for a spot on the final roster as an undrafted rookie. Here’s what he had to say about the Bills, his preparation, and his chances of making the team.
DP: What was the process of signing with Buffalo?
Emili: I heard from them during the draft, and they were saying that they were interested in signing me for rookie minicamp and decided it was a good fit. I’ve heard from them a few times throughout this whole process, and it’s a good spot to land at.
DP: During your time at Penn, was the plan always to try and make it to the NFL?
Emili: This was not an accident by any means. The NFL has definitely been a goal of mine, something that I’ve been working towards for most of my life, so I’m excited to see this come to fruition.
DP: What was the reaction from all the people in your life, including those from Penn football?
Emili: Honestly, it was overwhelmingly positive. My phone has never been that alive. My notifications were coming from every corner you can think of. Everyone was very excited, me included. It was a great day.
DP: Who are you most excited to work with in Buffalo?
Emili: Von Miller. He’s one of the GOATs, so just seeing how he goes about his day and his practices, I want to see how he does what he does.
DP: Coming in as an undrafted free agent, a spot on the team is certainly not a guarantee. How do you feel about your chances of making the final roster?
Emili: I’ve been fighting uphill battles for as long as I can remember, so I’m not new to this position. Every step along the way, you have to kind of re-earn your spot, remind people who you are, and I’m excited to go and fight for a spot on this team.
DP: What do you feel your role on the team would be?
Emili: Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do it.
DP: What from your time at Penn are you going to take with you to Buffalo?
Emili: I’d say my ability to learn and adapt to new situations. I feel like that will help me immensely.
DP: The NFL is obviously a much higher level of play than the Ivy League. What do you expect to be most different for you personally on the professional level?
Emili: Just the speed of the game. Everybody is faster at that level, so that’ll take a little bit to adjust to, but I’m excited for that, too. I want to see how good people really get.
DP: A lot of the roster is made up of players who went to big Power Five schools. Do you feel as though coming in with a much different background will help you or hinder you in any way?
Emili: Whether you’re playing DI, DII, DIII, FBS, FCS, football is football. So I’m going to feel at home regardless. I’m just excited to get there.
DP: What does your schedule look like going forward?
Emili: I’m leaving for rookie minicamp on Thursday [May 12]. It goes from training camp to OTAs, then we have about a month for ourselves to prepare for training camp, and then training camp picks up around the last week of July.
DP: Have you talked with the players and coaching staff in Buffalo yet?
Emili: I haven’t started talking with any of the players yet, I’m excited to meet them. I’ve mostly been doing onboarding-type stuff, talking to front office guys, some of the staff in the training room, and I’ve had a conversation with my D-line coach as well.