The Patriots, who allowed 40 sacks in 2013 - the most times quarterback Tom Brady has been sacked in a full season since he arrived in Foxborough - drafted three offensive linemen: Florida State center Bryan Stork, tackle Cameron Fleming of Stanford, and guard Jon Halapio of Florida.
“That’s just the way it fell,” he said.
The defensive line, beset by injuries to starters Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly in 2013, added pass-rushing defensive end Zach Moore of Concordia-St. Paul in the sixth round to go with first-round pick and fellow defensive end Dominique Easley of Florida, the 29th overall pick.
New England also selected running back James White of Wisconsin in the fourth round, cornerback/safety Jemea Thomas of Georgia Tech in the sixth round and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon of Michigan in the seventh round.
In Friday’s second round, the Pats tabbed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois with the 62nd overall pick to back up Brady and then traded their third-round pick to Jacksonville for the Jaguars’ fourth- and sixth-round picks. The fourth-round pick became Stork and the sixth-round pick became Halapio.
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,” Stork said 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 White (5-9, 204) with their second fourth-round pick. 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.