Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Ron Brace
Ron Brace (DT)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 330
Conference: ACC
Hometown: Springfield, MA
High School: Burncoat
Featured Prospects
Selected by: New England Patriots
Round: 2
Pick (Overall): 8 (40)
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Pick Analysis: The Patriots pick up the potential successor to Vince Wilfork at nose tackle. The hulking prospect excels at holding the point and is a solid run stuffer against single or double teams.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

Brace might not dazzle you in the statistical department, but he has played a critical role to the success of the team in shutting down the run the last two years. With his wide body, long wing span and impressive power, he can terrorize guards and centers in the trenches. What he offers an NFL team is an athlete who can play the three-technique (under-tackle) position in a 4-3 alignment or easily handle multiple blockers as a nose guard in a 3-4 scheme.


As a junior, he led a front wall that ranked second in the nation, as the Eagles allowed only 75.50 yards per game on the ground. During his senior campaign, he teamed with fellow tackle B.J. Raji to pace a unit that led the Atlantic Coast Conference in rush defense (91.21 ypg, seventh in the NCAA) and total defense (268.14 ypg, ranked fifth nationally). Brace and Raji combined for 11 of the team's 35 sacks (31.43 percent) and 27 of the Eagles' 108 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (25.0 percent).


Brace excelled in football and track at Burncoat High School. He earned All-State and Worcester Telegram & Gazette All-Star honors in 2003. The defensive lineman was a three-time Inter-High All-Star choice and captured team MVP recognition as a senior. The team captain also played in the 2004 Massachusetts Shriners Football Classic. He excelled as a member of Burncoat's track and field team, winning the state shot put title in 2003 and 2004.


Brace enrolled at Boston College, spending the 2004 season playing on the scout team. He appeared in eight games in 2005, starting vs. Wake Forest, as he finished with 11 tackles (6 solos) with a stop for a loss. The following season, he started 11 times at the left defensive tackle position. He registered 20 tackles (11 solos) that included 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and also recovered a fumble.


As a junior, Brace was named All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention. He was in on just 27 tackles (14 solos), but ranked third on the squad with 7.5 stops for losses, including 2.5 sacks. He was awarded the Nugent Family Football Scholarship before his final season.


Brace earned All-ACC second-team honors in 2008. He extended his starting string to 37 games, producing 27 tackles (19 solos) from his left defensive tackle position. He finished second on the team with eleven stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he also caused a fumble and recorded a career-high three sacks.


High School

Attended Burncoat (Worcester, Mass.) High School, playing football for head coach Chris Moriarty...Earned All-State and Worcester Telegram & Gazette All-Star honors in 2003... The defensive lineman was a three-time Inter-High All-Star choice and captured team MVP recognition as a senior...The team captain also played in the 2004 Massachusetts Shriners Football Classic...Excelled as a member of Burncoat's track and field team, winning the state shot put title in 2003 and 2004.


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Analysis

Positives: Square-framed, naturally large man. Surprising initial quickness off the snap to disrupt the play before it has a chance to begin. Good lateral quickness to slide down the line. Good use of hands to slap away the blockers' attempts to control him. Good overall strength, especially in his lower body, to hold up at the point. Can anchor against the double-team and flashes the ability to split. Able to close if given a free lane. Recognizes the action quickly and can slide off the block onto the runner as he goes by. Versatile defender capable of projecting as a zero-, one- or three-technique at the next level.


Negatives: Only "phone booth" quickness. Requires a free lane to close on the quarterback and isn't going to provide significant interior pass rush. Marginal effort and ability in pursuit. Flanked by a better prospect in Raji and often faces only one blocker. Struggled with a recurring back injury in 2008. Concern over back injury only heightened considering his heavy build and potential to allow his weight to get out of control.


Compares To: MAAKE KEMOEATU-Carolina -- Like Kemoeatu, Brace has surprising athleticism for a big man, but lacks the foot speed to make plays in long pursuit. Playing in a phone booth, he does a good job of clogging the rush lanes. While he can play in a classic 4-3 alignment, he is much more effective handling action in the middle of the field. With so many teams utilizing the 3-4 defensive alignment in 2009, he is more enticing as a nose guard.


Injury Report

2007: Left the Florida State game twice (11/03) with back spasms.


2008: Bothered by back problems that limited him in August camp...Was helped off the field vs. Georgia Tech (9/15) due to back problems...Injured his toe, missing the bulk of the second half vs. Maryland (11/29).


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