Great offensive line play year in and year out has been one of the main building blocks for the New England Patriots’ sustained success in the Tom Brady-era. The Patriots are well aware of this, and did some planning for the future in the 2014 draft by selecting rookies Cameron Fleming, Bryan Stork, and Jon Halapio. Let’s take a closer look at Fleming and see how he’s faring in training camp thus far.
A double-major in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford, Fleming is a quick learner. His academic intelligence translates well into football IQ, helping the tackle to diagnose blitzes. Bill Belichick loves having smart, constantly thinking players on his roster.
At 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, Fleming is nearly twice the size of a fellow Patriots rookie that he’ll be snowplowing for, running back Roy Finch. In addition to his prominent stature, Fleming is agile and quick as a blocker, especially in rushing scenarios. Last season, he played a major role in a Stanford ground attack that broke the school’s rushing record with 2,904 yards.
So far in training camp, Fleming has held his own against a formidable group of Patriots pass rushers. Perhaps Fleming’s best moment of the first week of practices was when he shut down Rob Ninkovich in two consecutive one-on-one drills.
Fleming has a favorable chance at making the team. As of right now, it looks like Fleming and veteran Marcus Cannon are slated as the backup tackles behind Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder. Fellow contenders for the job Chris Martin and Jordan Devey just don’t seem as enticing as the nimble, run-blocking specialist who is also smart enough pilot a rocket.