The Patriots surprisingly did not select a single offensive tackle during the 2023 NFL Draft.
Or did they?
Though all three O-linemen New England picked profile as interior players, the Patriots believe fourth-rounder Sidy Sow also can provide depth outside, according to a report Tuesday from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
“My understanding is they’re gonna try Sow at tackle,” Breer wrote.
We speculated after Sow’s selection that this could be New England’s plan for the Eastern Michigan product. The final 44 of Sow’s 55 collegiate starts came at left guard, but he started 11 games as a left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and has the requisite size (6-foot-5, 323 pounds) to play there in the NFL, especially for a team like the Patriots that doesn’t place a premium on length at the position.
Sow turned in an excellent all-around workout at the NFL Scouting Combine, testing in the 89th percentile in the vertical jump, 86th percentile in the broad jump, 86th percentile in the 40-yard dash, 71st percentile in the three-cone drill and 60th percentile in the short shuttle among the 1,324 O-linemen in Mockdraftable’s database.
Here was Sow’s entry in our 2023 draft recap:
In Sow, the Patriots are getting an uber-experienced, highly athletic lineman who started 55 games in college and has experience at left guard and left tackle. He never missed a game at Eastern Michigan and was a first-team All-MAC selection in 2021 and 2022. Sow projects as a guard, but at 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, he has the size to play tackle if the Patriots want to try him out there. They loaded up on interior linemen in this draft despite tackle being one of their biggest perceived needs.
Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh was asked during his post-draft video conference about the possibility of Sow playing tackle.
“Sidy does have some background at left tackle,” Groh said. “He’s been a guard here the last couple years. He’s not a little guy. He’s got plenty of athleticism. He’s got plenty of power. So we’ll see how it goes and try and find the best spot for him.”
Troy’s Jake Andrews, drafted earlier in Round 4, projects as a center first, guard second for New England. Fifth-round pick Atonio Mafi played right and left guard at UCLA after converting from defensive tackle in 2020.
The Patriots made moves to shore up their offensive tackle group — their weakest positional unit in 2022 — earlier this offseason, signing veteran free agents Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson and re-signing Conor McDermott and Yodny Cajuste. Still, tackle was viewed as one of their biggest needs entering the draft, as projected starters Reiff and Trent Brown both are entering contract years and have lengthy injury histories.
Sow proving he can play there would give this group some much-needed long-term stability. But he’s nearly five years removed from his most recent appearance at tackle, so that’s far from a guarantee.