Surprising news Wednesday when word leaked that the Patriots will release center Bryan Stork. Could New England's loss be the Redskins gain? Maybe.
The Patriots selected Stork in the fourth round of the 2014 draft from Florida State, and in two seasons with New England he has started 17 games. Stork has also dealt with concussion issues, last year playing just eight games and starting six.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 315 lbs., Stork is big for a center. Current Redskins starter Kory Lichtensteiger lists at 6-foot-2 and 295 lbs., and was limited to five regular season games last season. Behind Lichtensteiger, the Redskins have Spencer Long and Josh LeRibeus competing at the backup center spot, though Long is also currently taking snaps on the first team offensive line at left guard.
LeRibeus struggled last season when forced to step in at center, both in blocking and snapping, and it's hard to imagine the 'Skins want to see him in that position again. If Shawn Lauvao proves healthy and capable of taking back over at left guard, that would allow Long to backup or even compete with Lichtensteiger at center.
So how does Stork fit in with any of this? At times, he has been a better center than the current Redskins options. At other times, however, he hasn't.
Good insight from CSNNE.com Patriots beat writer Phil Perry:
Stork could help a team in need of a center, but there are a few things worth looking into before investing in him. First and foremost, he has an injury history that could be concerning. He was placed on short-term IR before the start of last season, and he recently missed a week of training camp practice with what was reported as a head injury. Second, he plays with a mean streak that can sometimes go over the line. He has been kicked out of two practices (one during OTAs, one during camp) for fighting, and he picked up an unnessesary roughness penalty in the AFC title game last season. Third, he has graded out as a below-average center by Pro Football Focus. Not only did the Patriots choose David Andrews, a second-year undrafted player out of Georgia, to start over Stork, but Andrews' rise made Stork expendable. Any team that picks up the Florida State product will get a center with good size (6-4, 313 pounds) and a Super Bowl start under his belt, but he won't arrive without his share of questions.
It's August and many more players are going to get cut. Scot McCloughan and his scouting team will be watching all the action unfold, and will consider their options with each player. Considering the red flags surrounding Stork - injuries, aggressiveness, and losing his job to an undrafted guy - he might not seem to be the right fit for the 'Skins. That said, he is a big mauler for the front line, a commodity McCloughan values.