Pats Address O-line, Running Game In 4th Round
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots bolstered their offensive line and added a running back in the fourth round of the NFL draft Saturday.
The Patriots drafted 6-foot-4, 300-pound Florida State center Bryan Stork with their first pick (105th overall) in the fourth round.
Stork, who protected Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, was a consensus All-America, the winner of the 2013 Rimington Award as the nation’s top center and was a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, but missed the physical testing at the combine this spring because of knee and shoulder injuries.
“I’m very excited,” said Stork via a conference call. “It’s definitely a team I always wanted. I like the way they do things.”
He said “I’m fine” when asked about the injuries that caused him to miss the combine testing.
The Patriots recently re-signed starting center Ryan Wendell for two years.
They followed the Stork pick by taking Wisconsin running back James White (5-9, 204) with their second fourth-round pick (130th overall). White had 1,444 yards rushing and seven TDs on the ground for the Badgers last fall, and added 35 catches and two more touchdowns as a receiver.
He finished with 4,015 career yards rushing and, in 754 combined career touches during his Wisconsin career, only had two fumbles.
White, in a conference call, acknowledged he was proud of that statistic. “It (not fumbling) is very important. Ball security is job security,” he said.
The Patriots bolstered their offensive line, which allowed 40 sacks last season, with their third fourth-round pick (140th overall), Cameron Fleming, a 6-5, 323-pound offensive tackle from Stanford.
Fleming started 39 games for the Cardinal over three seasons and was All-Pac-12 second-team in 2013.
In Thursday’s first round, the Patriots addressed their needs on the defensive line, drafting defensive end Dominique Easley of Florida with the 29th overall pick.
In Friday’s second round, the Pats tabbed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois with the 62nd overall pick and then traded their third-round pick to Jacksonville for the Jaguars’ fourth- (105th overall) and sixth-round (179th overall) picks. The fourth-round pick became Stork.
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