2 Ron Brace DT Boston College Grade: D+
Of the four players drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 by the Patriots, Ron Brace was the most disappointing. Struggling for fitness throughout his four-year stint with the team, he never managed to hold down a starting role. Known as a run-stuffing specialist coming out of college, his draft stock was probably helped by playing alongside BJ Raji. Brace found it difficult to keep his fitness and failed the conditioning test at the start of the 2010 season. At the end of the 2012 Brace was released and was out of the league a year later. Less than a year ago Brace died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 29, (article by Mike Reiss).
2 Darius Butler CB Connecticut Grade: D
Butler has been one of the few players that have gone on to have success since being released by the Patriots. Despite not starting many games his rookie season he contributed with three interceptions. 2010 proved to be a lot more troublesome for Butler. He lost his starting place as the nickel cornerback to Kyle Arrington in Week 3 after a disastrous performance against the Jets and never recovered. Butler was released at the start of the 2011 season after only two years with the team. He was picked up by the Panthers and then a year later by the Colts where he has become a mainstay in their secondary.
2 Sebastian Vollmer OT Houston Grade: A-
Probably the most talented offensive tackle to play for the Patriots since Bruce Armstrong, Vollmer wasn’t even invited to the scouting combine during the pre-draft process in 2009. Equally as comfortable playing left or right tackle, he had the potential to be an all-time great for the Patriots. Unfortunately for the gentle giant, injuries played a huge part in his career. He only played in all sixteen games once in his eight-year career. If he had been healthier there is no doubt that he would have been a Pro-Bowl and All-Pro player.