FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots have selected three offensive linemen on Day 3 of the 2014 NFL draft.
The third such lineman was Florida guard Jon Halapio, a 6-foot-3, 323-pound behemoth who started 43 games at right guard in his five-year career for the Gators.
Halapio has dealt with some injuries throughout his career. He hurt his shoulder in 2009 and was granted a medical redshirt. He missed a game in 2010 with a broken finger. In 2013, he missed spring practices with a torn meniscus, and two games with a torn pectoral muscle, but played through an 80-percent tear in his pectoral that season.
NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki says Halapio’s strengths lie in his build, as he is “naturally thick with big hands. Can drive block and is effective when he has an angle. Functional anchor. Provides adequate three-step drop protection. Has a warrior’s mentality — plays hurt.”
As for his weaknesses, Nawrocki says Halapio is “tightly wound — struggles reacting to movement, changing direction and recovering. Does not generate power through his hips. Poor contact balance. Empties the chamber with initial punch and cannot recoil. Hands and feet do not work in unison. Opens the gate in pass protection. Unsudden to clear his feet and pull. Limited blocking range. Tied for the lowest vertical jump (21 1/2) of any offensive lineman at the combine.”
Patriots guard Dan Connolly enters the final year of the three-year, $9.75 million contract he signed in 2012. Halapio could compete for the starting spot, or the Patriots could groom him for a year to eventually take over if and when Connolly leaves via free agency next season.