Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday, we looked at No. 67 Josh Kline, and the day before that it was No. 68 Caylin Hauptmann. Because today marks 66 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 66, center Bryan Stork.
When we profiled Hauptmann a few days ago, we noted how he has earned two Super Bowl rings in two NFL seasons. Stork has had similar luck, captaining Florida State to a national title in 2013 and then winning Super Bowl XLIX as a rookie. Only four other players have pulled that off.
As a senior for the Seminoles, Stork was awarded the Rimington Trophy, which recognizes the country’s best center. It’s safe to say that when they nabbed Stork in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Patriots made a great decision.
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You may remember how much the Patriots’ offensive line struggled in the first month of the 2014 regular season. Once Stork became a regular in the trenches, the line became solidified, and the Patriots emerged out of 2-2 mediocrity to reach Super Bowl glory.
Stork separated himself from the rest of the Patriots’ 2014 crop of rookies, playing well enough to be named the Patriots’ rookie of the year by WEEI’s Christopher Price. All told, Stork started in 11 of the 13 regular season games he appeared in, and started in the Divisional Round against the Ravens as well as the Super Bowl against the Seahawks (injury held him out of the AFC title game).
As he ascends into upper ranks of the Patriots’ locker room, Stork is being viewed as this era’s Logan Mankins. His cold tack when speaking to the media, dedication to self-improvement and winning habits will serve Stork well as he pilots the Patriots’ offensive line for the foreseeable future.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 69 Shaq Mason, No. 71 Cameron Fleming, No. 72 Joe Vellano, No. 74 Trey Flowers, No. 76 Sebastian Vollmer, No. 77 Nate Solder, No. 80 Danny Amendola, No. 82 Josh Boyce, No. 84 Brian Tyms, No. 85 Jake Bequette, No. 86 A.J. Derby, No. 87 Rob Gronkowski and No. 88 Scott Chandler.