Patriots Draft Sleeper Offers ‘Terrific Value’ at 2 Spots

Sidy Sow

Getty A New England Patriots' draft sleeper offers "terrific value" at two starting spots.

The New England Patriots are set at the guard positions, but things are less certain at offensive tackle. That uncertainty is good news for Sidy Sow, the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft, who has been identified as a Day 3 sleeper capable of making an immediate impact as a rookie.

Sow made a list put together by Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic, who named the former Eastern Michigan guard as having “what it takes to play early.” Seeing the field early could depend on Sow successfully switching to tackle, because “the Patriots don’t need help at guard right now — Mike Onwenu and Cole Strange are rock-solid players who fit everything New England does.”

Fortunately, “Sow has the type of play strength and mindset necessary to kick out and make it work.” Either way, Baumgardner believes the Pats and head coach Bill Belichick “may have found a terrific value by adding a possible starting tackle or guard in Round 4.”

Adding a versatile powerhouse to the starting five up front would boost an offensive line under pressure to enjoy a big year. Quarterback Mac Jones is at a crossroads, and if he and his new receivers are going to click, the big guys ahead of him must dominate the trenches.

Day 3 Pick Has True Sleeper Potential

Baumgardner’s belief in Sow’s potential to play on the edge stems from the player’s worthy physical attributes. In particular, Baumgardner detailed how Sow “measured in with nearly 34-inch arms” at the annual NFL Scouting Combine.

Length is a key attribute to help offensive tackles deal with speedy edge-rushers. Tackles often need to hold pass-rushers at bay with a long reach to protect the pocket, something Sow is built to manage, but his versatility goes beyond arm length.

Sow used the Combine to showcase range and flexibility to go with his 6-foot-5 and 334-pound frame. Those attributes were obvious during some impressive athleticism testing detailed by Next Gen Stats.

Scores likes those reveal a player’s move skills. While those skills are an obvious asset on the outside, they’re also needed inside at guard.

Sow knew how how to shift away from the interior and into space during his days at Eastern Michigan, a talent showcased by this crushing block highlighted by Evan Lazar of

Guards moving to flatten linebackers and safeties are a feature of the Pats’ power-based running schemes that rely on a lot of pin-and-pull concepts. Sow is a perfect fit for these gap schemes, but he could be more valuable providing sturdier pass protection on the right.

Patriots Need Help at Right Tackle

To put the Patriots problems at tackle into perspective, it’s important to acknowledge the uncertain state of things on the right. It’s where 34-year-old Riley Reiff has a chance to plug in, but Calvin Anderson and Conor McDermott are also in the mix.

The lack of elite options at a key position is far from ideal for Belichick. He knows Jones took too many hits in 2022, when the under-fire passer was sacked 34 times. Jones also suffered 27 hits and felt pressure on 95 occasions, according to Pro Football Reference.

It didn’t help that left tackle Trent Brown, normally a rock, struggled. The 30-year-old allowed eight sacks and was guilty of a league-high 13 penalties, per Pro Football Focus.

Brown will be under pressure from Sow if he falters again, but the veteran is more likely to return to his best if there’s more continuity and security on the right side. Reiff may struggle to provide it after disappointing stints with the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears in the last two seasons.

This many question marks means giving Sow some reps at right tackle during the offseason program is definitely an experiment worth trying for Belichick and his staff.

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