INDIANAPOLIS – A year ago the Patriots invested a fourth-round pick in Florida State center Bryan Stork. The former Seminole leader overcame a summer injury to slide into the New England starting lineup in October and help solidify a championship line over the course of an impressive rookie season.
A year later, the Patriots once again seem to be keeping close tabs on the four FSU offensive linemen at the Combine this week at Lucas Oil Stadium.
That interest includes the presence of retired former New England offensive line coaching legend Dante Scarnecchia. Scarnecchia reportedly served in a consulting role for New England leading up to last year's draft and played a key role in the decision to select Stork. It would appear, based on Scarnecchia's presence in Indy once again and his early meetings with line prospects on the Patriots behalf, that the respected former coach is serving a similar role again this offseason.
Both FSU guard Tre Jackson and tackle/projected NFL guard Bobby Hart revealed that they had one-on-one meetings with Scarnecchia on Tuesday night. Both were familiar with man known as Scar thanks to frequent past trips to Tallahassee to work out prospects and reconnect with the team's offensive line coach and his longtime friend, Rick Trickett.
Trickett recently told the Boston Herald that New England's continued interest in FSU offensive linemen makes sense given the similarities in the schemes the two teams run.
"We do a lot of stuff very, very similar to what (the Patriots) do on offense. I think both guys will be ready as far as the Xs and Os," Trickett told the Herald in regards to Jackson as well as another Seminole prospect, Cameron Erving. "Both guys are really good solid football players. How many damn true football players are there? I always knew that Stork was a damn football player. He is a tough guy, and he was a football player. I think these two guys fit in that same mold."
Hart said that his meeting with Scarnecchia reminded him very much of dealing with Trickett. He said the sit-down revolved primarily around "football stuff, it wasn't too much deeper than that."
Hart also had plenty of good things to say about Stork, whom he has kept in touch with via Snapchat, a social media app.
"He's a good dude. Kind of to himself. He's a great worker, a hard worker," Hart said of his former teammate and friend. "And you want to match his intensity. So he helps you elevate your game.
"He just showed us what hard work and determination will do for you."
"He expected the best in all of us," Jackson added of Stork.
Based on the obvious interest the Patriots are showing in the FSU linemen quartet this spring, there seems to be at least a chance that one of the four Seminoles – the other being guard Josue Matias – could land in New England next to Stork.