The New England Patriots have not been that strong at the center position ever since they lost their former starting center, Dan Koppen, to the Denver Broncos.
Koppen going to the Broncos didn’t stop the Patriots from having an outstanding offensive line in 2012 and beyond. Ryan Wendell was able to step into the starting center position for the Patriots and did a serviceable job considering he had never played center before in his life. The Patriots did address the center position in the draft this year by drafting a pure center in Bryan Stork. Let’s dive into the New England Patriots center depth heading into the 2014 season.
1) Ryan Wendell
Although not a true center, Wendell did a decent job at holding down the center position. He does have a few bad snaps here and there but for the most part he gives the Patriots a pretty good option at center to complete a very good offensive line. He won’t blow you away with his power and/or strength but he’ll give you a 100% effort day in and day out and always is trying to improve his game.
My 2014 Ryan Wendell Projection: N/A
2) Bryan Stork
With their 4th round pick, 105th overall, the Patriots selected Bryan Stork. Stork in my opinion was one of the most underrated picks in the entire draft. Stork has experience in playing in big games in college and is one hell of a center. His 6’4” frame and 315 pound body is a tough one to move along the offensive line. This season, while playing for Florida State, Stork was the center of the BCS National Champions. In 2013, Stork was a Unanimous All-American and First-team All-ACC. Also in 2013, Stork took home the Rimington Trophy which is given to the nations best center in college football. Don’t be surprised if Stork wins the starting center job for the Patriots this season.
My 2014 Bryan Stork Projection: N/A
3) Dan Connolly
The Patriots third string center is most certainly Dan Connolly. Connolly can pretty much play and position on the offensive line but center may in fact be the one he is best at. Back in 2012, Connolly almost beat out Koppen for the starting center position but he is more valued playing at guard heading into the 2014 season. But a mix and a match if an injury occurs would land Connolly at center.
My 2014 Dan Connolly Projection: N/A
Patriots C Depth Chart Grade and Reason: C
One of the reasons I give the Patriots a C at this position is because the starter at the position, Ryan Wendell, isn’t even listed as a center which means this position is a pretty much up for grabs. I believe that there is a very realistic shot that you see Bryan Stork win the center job heading into the season. The addition of Stork bring added pressure to Wendell to really elevate his game. Wendell, who signed a 2-year/$6.85 million contract in the off season to stay in New England, may not be a starter in any of those two years if Stork steps his game up. In my opinion this position is a huge question mark going into the 2014 season.