NEW YORK — The New England Patriots added some much-needed depth to their offensive line on Day 3 of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Patriots used their first fourth-round pick (No. 105 overall) on Florida State center Bryan Stork, who could be the future starting center for quarterback Tom Brady — or second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo.
Stork won the Rimington Award in 2013, given to college football’s best center. He’s 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and ran a 5.44-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March, with a 7.90-second three cone and 5.02-second short shuttle.
Stork was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he didn’t work out, coming off knee and shoulder injuries.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Stork said after being picked in his post-draft conference call. “It’s not a big deal. I’m a ball player.”
The Patriots’ offensive line struggled at times in 2013, but they brought back last year’s starting center, Ryan Wendell, as a free agent. Stork could compete for the first-team role in training camp, but the Patriots likely view him as a future starter.
Stork was a captain with the Seminoles and started 40 games during his college career. He played in Florida State’s BCS national championship game win and the Senior Bowl despite his injuries. Florida State assistant head coach/offensive line coach Rick Trickett introduced Stork to the Patriots’ offensive scheme.
“I watch a lot of ball and Coach Trickett at Florida State showed us a lot of film on (the Patriots,” Stork said. “It’s kind of ironic that I ended up here but I’m very happy and very proud.”
NFL.com notes that Stork is a “lunchpail worker” with “good football intelligence.” It wrote that Stork is a good pass protector, but he has short arms, stiff hips and lacks explosion.
Stork has much better size than Wendell, and with a bushy beard, he certainly looks the part of a Patriots offensive lineman.