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2023 NFL Draft: Sidy Sow, Jose Ramirez First Pair of EMU Selections Since 'Hurons' Name Change
Chad Ryland, who spent his graduate transfer year at Maryland, was also a fourth-round pick.
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The long-awaited draft for this year is actually over.
No more spinning and theorizing what could happen, we have the results and Eastern Michigan’s got some bragging rights that it doesn’t usually have. It’s been roughly 50 years since the NFL Draft was this favorable to EMU grads.
Two former Eagles, Sidy Sow and Jose Ramirez, were both taken in the draft on Saturday.
Sow, an offensive guard, came off the board at 117 to the New England Patriots. Guards tend to be valued less than tackles in the NFL, but Sow’s measurables and workout scores were too good to fall any later than the fourth round, it seems.
The Quebec-born youth hockey player grew into 6’4 and 3/4” wall for running backs to run behind. He finished his six-year EMU career with the most games played (56) and started (54) in program history, and was a three-time All-MAC selection.
Said NFL Draft writer Dane Brugler in his recent column at The Athletic:
Day 3 pick [by New England] who could surprise: Sidy Sow, G, Eastern Michigan
One of my favorite mid-round prospects this year, Sow is a strong, physical guard, and he isn’t a slug as a mover. The Canadian native offers immediate depth and could be a long-term option as Michael Onwenu enters the final season of his rookie deal.
Ramirez, an All-American edge rusher in college, was picked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 196 and was more formally listed as an outside linebacker. Ramirez, the first MAC Defensive Player of the Year award winner in Eastern history, will get the chance to play close to his hometown of Auburndale, Fla., and be teamed up with another former EMU defensive end: Pat O’Connor.
With two EMU graduates off the board, the 30th and 31st NFL draft picks in school history became the first pair to come off the board in the same year since 1977. Back then, Eastern Michigan was known as the Hurons and the team was still 10 years away from its first bowl win. Back then, those two picks were Mark Carter, #264 to Miami, and Jim Stansik, #319 to San Diego.
The 1972 draft featured three EMU graduates within the first 200 picks: linebacker Dave Pureifory (#142 to Green Bay), linebacker Will Foster (#170 to Philadelphia), and running back Larry Ratcliff (#196 to Philadelphia).
Let’s sneak in one more for good measure
Chad Ryland, EMU’s all-time leading scorer, is going to have Maryland attached to his name since that’s where he spent his final season as a graduate student, but he truly made a name for himself in Ypsilanti. Ryland was picked by New England at 112th overall, meaning he’s teammates again with Sidy Sow.
Kickers aren’t generally draft priorities across the board like pass rushers or quarterbacks. This draft saw Michigan’s Jake Moody go at #99 to San Francisco. New England, 13 picks later, picked Ryland “from Maryland.”
Then, five picks later, the Patriots got its aforementioned guard of the future, Sow from Eastern Michigan.
From EMU’s press release, the two teammates anew FaceTimed each other in excitement:
… After the shock wore off, Sow immediately called Ryland on FaceTime. The two friends were about to be NFL teammates.
"I thought it was the craziest thing in the world. I needed to talk to him," Sow said. "To be honest, having a really close friend to go through this whole process and now this summer we'll go through heading into next season, having somebody like him on the same team going through the same thing is going to be amazing. Once we got on the call, we talked about how crazy, unrealistic and impossible that scenario could've been but it actually happened. It's just awesome."
The Patriots previously invited former EMU punter Jake Julien to its preseason camp last year, though he did not make the team.
So far, two former Eagles have been invited to rookie mini-camps in the NFL: tight end Gunnar Oakes to the Atlanta Falcons, and wide receiver Hassan Beydoun to the New York Jets.
Oakes, like Sow and Ramirez, turned down their USFL draft invitations in February for their chances at the NFL. Oakes was a 7th-round pick to the Michigan Panthers along with Sow (10th round); Ramirez was picked in the 6th round by the Philadelphia Stars.
The tight end played in 49 games over his EMU career, though he only had starts in his redshirt-freshman (3) and senior (12) seasons. Oakes, behind a pair of junior college transfer tight ends for most of his time as an Eagle, ended up catching 27 passes for 279 yards for the offense in 2022. In the four years before Oakes’ senior year, he had 29 catches for 342 yards and 2 touchdown grabs.
Beydoun walked onto the team the old-fashioned way. He wasn’t recruited by anybody out of high school, was just an ordinary student at EMU when he saw an open invite for walk-on tryouts. He gave it the old college shot, and now, five years later, the New York Jets — coached by Dearborn’s own Robert Saleh — are going to let him try out for its roster as a wide receiver.
In 2021, “Hass” was EMU’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2004 when he caught a MAC-best 97 passes for 1,015 yards with 4 TD. Last year, Beydoun caught 49 passes for 43 yards with another 4 TD.