July 27, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace walks onto the field during the training camp at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

Ron Brace needs to step up, Philadelphia Eagles loom


Consider New England Patriots defensive tackle Ron Brace to be squarely on the bubble at this point. The Pats defensive line is a crowded area, and Brace has been stuffed on the depth chart after missing this past week’s worth of camp. That really hurt him, as Brace looked great early on and was showing his usual power and strength; he also looked disruptive as a pass rusher.

At 6’3″, 330 pounds, Brace does a good job of using his massive frame to eat up blockers and make an impact in run defense. However, he has been a below-average player through his career. The former second-rounder out of Boston College is just 25, and he is fighting for a roster spot.

Brace has been a huge disappointed so far in his career, and he hasn’t made many plays for the Patriots in three career seasons. Sure he can play in various schemes on the line, but he doesn’t play well at all. He has no upside and has not been able to grasp a significant role on this defense despite having the chances to do so. Brace is an all-around disappointment as a former second-round pick, but he still does have a chance to make the roster even though he is right on the bubble.

For him to do that, however, he needs to perform at a high level just like he did at the beginning of camp. Ron Brace has the raw ability- he was a second-round pick, after all- and he did well at the beginning of camp. Playing well in camp won’t be enough for him either, and that second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles will be huge for Brace. If he can have a good performance in that game, he’ll boost his stock.

At this point, he isn’t even one of the best five defensive tackles in the roster. Kyle Love and Vince Wilfork are obviously better, but so are Brandon Deaderick, Jonathan Fanene, and Gerard Warren. Myron Pryor is also listed above Brace on the depth chart, but Brace can feasibly pass both Pryor and Warren if he can prove himself. If not, then he can wave a spot on the 53-man roster “good-bye”.

Last season was especially putrid for Brace, and it’s time for him to shed the “bust” label if he can. Never a good training camp performer, Brace changed that at the beginning of camp before getting injured. Now is the time to try and grab that momentum back and ride it. There’s a lot at stake for Brace, and the rest of practices and the upcoming game against the Eagles will be the times for Brace to show himself. As the young stars emerge, things are looking dimmer for the former BC DT.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

Tags: Boston College Brandon Deaderick Gerard Warren Jonathan Fanene Kyle Love Myron Pryor New England Patriots Philadelphia Eagles Ron Brace Vince Wilfork