NEW YORK — The New England Patriots are building up their offensive line in the 2014 NFL draft.
The Patriots selected Stanford offensive tackle Cameron Fleming with the No. 140 overall pick in the fourth round Saturday, 35 picks after they grabbed Florida State center Bryan Stork.
Fleming was Stanford’s starting right tackle for three seasons, and he received effusive praise from his former college coach, David Shaw, who discussed the pick on NFL Network. Shaw said Fleming “doesn’t get beat” and can pick up anything in two days.
Fleming is thought of as a highly intelligent prospect — he majored in aeronautics & astronautics at Stanford. The 6-foot-5, 323-pound lineman ran a 5.28-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and also had a 5.00-second short shuttle and 8.24-second three-cone drill.
Fleming likely will serve as the Patriots’ fourth offensive tackle in 2014. Veteran Will Svitek, who has not been re-signed as a free agent, had that role last season. The Patriots needed depth at tackle last season when starters Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer went down with injuries. Marcus Cannon, the Patriots’ 2011 fifth-round selection, likely will be the top backup at tackle again in 2014.
Fleming was NEPatriotsDraft.com’s Mike Loyko’s No. 96-ranked prospect, so the Stanford blocker is a steal for the Patriots in the fourth round. Loyko notes that Fleming is a strong run blocker who struggles with speed rushers, which could mean a move to guard. The Patriots lack depth at guard, and Fleming could be groomed as a future starter at the position.