|Source: Brace, Pats close on four-year deal||07.16.09 at 12:39 pm ET|
A league source confirmed to WEEI.com this afternoon that the Patriots and second-round pick Ron Brace are expected to have a deal done “within the next few days.” Brace, a defensive tackle out of Boston College, was the 40th player taken in the 2009 draft.
The source indicated the Brace contract is similar to the four-year deal that fellow second-round pick Darius Butler agreed to earlier this month with the Patriots. Butler, who was selected 41st overall — one pick behind Brace — signed a four-year deal for $4.275 million with New England, with $2.06 million of that guaranteed.
After a relatively slow spring, New England appears to be moving quickly to secure all 12 of of its 2009 draft picks. Currently, four first-year players (Butler, fourth-rounder Rich Ohrnberger, sixth-round pick Myron Pryor and seventh-round selection Darryl Richard) have already agreed to contracts, with three of them coming within the last 10 days. In addition, second-round pick Sebastian Vollmer has agreed to a preliminary deal with the Pats, while Brace appears set to sign by the end of the week.
At 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds, Brace is a native of Springfield who starred as a high schooler at Worcester Burncoat. At Boston College, he lined up alongside defensive lineman B.J. Raji (a first-round pick of the Packers), and was a second-team All-ACC selection in 2008 after earning honorable mention in 2007. In his last two seasons at The Heights, Brace combined for 54 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks
With the uncertainty surrounding the future of Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork — he is entering the final year of a six-year contract — Brace could be seen a possible replacement for Wilfork down the road. He has shown some positional versatility in the past, with an ability to play defensive tackle in the 4-3 or nose in the 3-4.
The Patriots certainly seem him as a space-eater.
“He’s huge. This guy’s big. He’s big and he’s wide,” said Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio in the spring when he was asked about Brace. “It’s hard to find these kinds of guys.”
“[Ron] Brace is a bigger player, very powerful and explosive, [with a] different playing style,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said when asked to compare Brace to the other two defensive linemen New England selected this past April, Darryl Richard and Myron Pryor.
“[He’s] a little bit taller, so I think there is some degree of flexibility between playing on the center, playing on the guard, and playing between the tackle and the guard, or on the tackle in varying degrees with all three players. How that actually manifests itself, we’ll see.”
2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
- New England Patriots Links 5/23/13 - Amendola, Jenkins Top Receivers at...
- Patriots Claim OT Kevin Haslam; Waive R.J. Mattes
- Patriots Spend League High $140K In Guaranteed Money For UDFAs
- New England Patriots Links 5/22/13 - Talib: OTAs About 'Getting Down the...
- The Potential Importance Of Jake Ballard
- Four Missing From Second Day Of Patriots OTAs
- The Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2012: Number 8