NEW YORK — The New England Patriots will have a crowded offensive line this summer.
The Patriots selected Florida guard Jon Halapio at No. 179 overall in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft Saturday. Halapio is the third offensive lineman and second player from Florida whom the Patriots have drafted.
Halpio appeared in 51 games for the Gators, starting 38 at right guard, including 10 last season while he had a torn pectoral. He adds depth to a Patriots interior offensive line that currently boasts Ryan Wendell, Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly as starters and Chris Barker, Braxston Cave, Josh Kline, R.J. Mattes and fourth-round pick Bryan Stork (No. 105 overall) as reserves.
The Patriots could save $3 million by releasing Connolly, who has a $4 million salary-cap hit in 2014. Stork and Halapio likely will compete for starting roles this summer.
The Patriots also selected Stanford right tackle Cameron Fleming in the fourth round (No. 140 overall) to help the Patriots’ offensive line, which struggled at times last season.
Halapio, at 6-foot-4, 323 pounds, ran a 5.29-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.