There was no way a local kid that played for Boston College who boasted that monolithic d-lineman size that Bill Belichick salivated over (6'3", 330 lbs.) wasn't going to work out, right?
This afternoon, another second-rounder with high hopes was shown the door as DE Ron Brace was released. Walking in that same door is now a glaring need for a thin defensive line that the Patriots will likely take a look at this coming offseason through the draft or free agency.
Brace, 26, played nose tackle for the BC Eagles' 4-3. Once viewed as a bargaining chip for the Vince Wilfork contract negotiations, it became clear Brace just never gained momentum in establishing a substantial role for himself on the Patriot defense. He recorded four tackles in ten games in which he appeared this season, but has been a seemingly healthy scratch in recent weeks.
As Jeff Howe noted:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Ron Brace was released today. Becomes Bill Belichick's 8th second-round pick to not receive a second contract from the Patriots.</p>— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) <a href="https://twitter.com/jeffphowe/status/285141940570304512" data-datetime="2012-12-29T21:55:10+00:00">December 29, 2012</a></blockquote>
Matt Light, Deion Branch and Rob Gronkowski are the only three second-rounders to have received contract extensions by the Patriots under Bill Belichick. Needless to say, the typically fruitful second-round has been a house of horrors for the Patriots.
With Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love and Marcus Forston on the practice squad composing the interior of the defensive line, the need for depth becomes much more elevated with Brace's roster spot eliminated. While some may be quick to criticize the front office's handling of the interior line, a lucrative contract offered to Jonathan Fanene in the offseason was designed to bolster just that, with Wilfork, Love and Fanene creating a fearsome combination in the middle. Chock it up to some bad luck and, in Brace's case, some too little, too late.