The 2020 NFL Draft was not the night that many imagined it would be. No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow did not get to shake Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand when his name was called and many players in later rounds did not even have gear to wear to represent their new teams.
The day also did not go how 17-year-old heart transplant survivor Sam Prince had envisioned it. He was supposed to be in Las Vegas to announce the New York Giants No. 4 overall pick. That, obviously, did not happen.
Former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas partnered with Make A Wish to help make up for that.
17-year-old heart transplant survivor Sam Prince was supposed to attend the NFL Draft in Las Vegas and announce the @Giants 4th overall pick @allforgod_55. When Andrew heard of the change in plans, he surprised Sam with @MakeAWish to make his dream come true. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cPnYunhYRn— Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) May 15, 2020
“It was an honor to meet you,” Prince told Thomas. “I watched all of your games in college. I’m a huge college football team and I watched you all the years you started at Georgia. When I heard your name, I threw my hat...and started yelling ‘Best pick in the draft, A-plus!’ Best offensive lineman in the draft. I’m not just saying that because you’re in front of me, I truly do think that from the bottom of my heart.”
The two talked about what the draft could have been like if it happened live instead of virtually. Thomas said that he planned on being in Las Vegas and he picked out a white coat with gold buttons to wear.
Prince, meanwhile, says that he would have worn Giants blue if it were him. He comes from a family of Big Blue supports. Prince attends Giants games with his grandfather, who has had season tickets for over 50 years.
“We’re very happy to have you,” Prince told Thomas.
After Thomas talked about his virtual meetings with the Giants and how he is trying to prepare for the 2020 season in these unprecedented times, Prince explained why the chance to introduce a pick at the NFL Draft meant so much to him.
“I wanted to show that organ donation works,” Prince said. “I’m living proof and I wanted to show it. Hopefully it can save more lives like mine.”
Thomas was a three-year starter at Georgia. He started making a name for himself as early as freshman year when he graded as one of the most effective blockers in the SEC - a grade he maintained throughout his three collegiate seasons. He was known as one of the team’s best leaders according to Georgia coaches and he brings a wealth of experience to the NFL, having started 41 games in the SEC at both left and right tackle.
As the Giants’ first round pick, Thomas has a lot of expectations for his rookie campaign and he knows that. Thomas told Prince that he would do his best to live up to them.
“We’ll try to make you proud this year.”