The 2022 season featured plenty of “first time since 1987” occurrences for Eastern Michigan. The Eagles won nine games for the first time in 35 years and also earned their first bowl victory since that landmark season.
Experiencing success which hadn’t been witnessed in three-and-a-half decades in Ypsilanti, MI, it’s unquestionable that Eastern Michigan was loaded with plenty of talent on that squad. And perhaps no player made a greater impact on the offense than guard Sidy Sow, who leveraged his collegiate success into an NFL Draft selection Saturday.
Sow was selected by the New England Patriots with the 117th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. The fourth round selection was the first Eagle drafted since defensive end Maxx Crosby landed in the fourth round in 2019. Sow became the fourth draft selection to play under Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creighton and holds the designation as the first lineman selected from the program since T.J. Lang in 2009.
He was the first player selected in the 2023 draft out of the Mid-American Conference, excluding players who transferred out of the conference.
Sow was a regular when it came to postseason accolades as a three-time All-MAC selection. He initiated his time in Ypsilanti as a left tackle, earning starter status in 2018 as a true freshman. Sow transitioned to left guard in 2019, where he spent the remainder of his college days and set the program record for games started. He cracked the All-MAC Third Team in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before upgrading that honor to First Team All-MAC recognition in 2021 and 2022.
At Eastern Michigan, Sow made a name for himself as a potent run blocker, which was on full display throughout the season, but especially evident in a road trip to Arizona State in September. With Sow leading the way, running back Samson Evans rushed for 258 yards on the Sun Devils to hand Eastern Michigan its first-ever win over Pac-12 competition. Operating behind a potent offensive line laced with NFL talent, Evans recorded three additional games over 120 rushing yards, finishing the season with 1,166 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Sow was one of four MAC players to participate in the 2023 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where he clocked in at 5.07 seconds in the 40-yard dash and bested the majority of offensive linemen with a 32-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump. According to the often-utilized Combine metric Relative Athletic Score (RAS), Sow posted the 10th best score out of 1,309 offensive guards from 1987 to present day.
The 6’5”, 323-pound guard earned an invite to showcase his skills at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Sow blocked for the American team, which rushed for 137 yards on 25 carries in a 19-17 victory over the National team. He has been lauded for his build as well as his drive in the run game, but areas of improvement include his pass blocking technique and bend.
Sow joins six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots to start his NFL career. The Patriots currently boast a pair of young starting guards in Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu, who were drafted in 2022 and 2020, respectively. Additional guard depth includes offseason acquisition James Ferentz and 2022 sixth round pick Chasen Hines. Sow is the first Eastern Michigan prospect to be drafted be the Patriots since 1972.