Could Brace potentially be Miami's nose tackle of the future?
With the Scouting Combine just a day or so away, everyone is preparing to watch their favorite potential draft picks work out for all 32 NFL teams. And one of the players who has been getting a lot of attention recently, especially among Dolphin fans, is Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace.
Brace, a 3 year starter at BC, has been overshadowed by his teammate and likely top 10 overall draft pick B.J. Raji. But that doesn't mean Brace, who had a very good career himself at BC, isn't going to garner a lot of attention from NFL scouts and GMs - especially from teams who are looking for a nose tackle to fit their 3-4 defensive scheme.
At the Senior Bowl, Brace measured in at 6'3, 329 pounds - certainly large enough handle the nose. And while he doesn't have much experience at all in a 3-4 scheme, Ron's bulk, strength, and ability to collapse a pocket lead you to believe he'd be able to effectively transition to the nose.
I recently had a chance to exchange a few questions with Ron. Among some of the highlights, he tells us that the Dolphins have indeed shown interest in him and that he'd welcome the chance to play in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Below are my questions and Ron's responses:
Ron, I'm sure that you are attracting a lot of attention since you're one of the draft's only players who could play nose tackle at this next level. Which teams have shown the most interest in you so far?
"Yeah I got a lot of attention at the Senior Bowl. I spent a lot of time with teams running a 3-4. The Dolphins, Cowboys, Chargers, Steelers, Broncos, and Patriots, to name a few."
What have your conversations with the Dolphins been like so far?
"They’ve been real positive. I must’ve talked with the Dolphins a couple times throughout the Senior Bowl week. We had lengthy talks about my background and things I like to do outside of football. They asked me a lot of questions and really took the time out to get to know me as a person."
How do you feel about potentially being targeted by Bill Parcells and the Miami Dolphins? Is a city like Miami and a team like the Dolphins - a team that is on the upswing but also one with a historic past - something that excites you?
"It feels good. Miami has a great organization from top to bottom. I’m impressed with how quickly they turned it around this past year. This whole process is real exciting. It’s really nice to know that they’re interested."
Do you have any experience playing in a 3-4 defensive scheme? And how would you feel transitioning to the nose after spending your college days playing in a defense at BC that used 4 down lineman?
"I would like to play for any team who believes in me, whether it’s a 4-3 or 3-4. I know that I would have no problem taking up two gaps though. I could definitely see myself as a nose in a 3-4. But I also want to go out and prove that I’m more than just a bruiser. Albert Haynesworth was considered only that early in his career, and now he’s not only a mauler, but a pass rusher at the line too."
What do you feel are some of your strengths as a player? And what do you feel you most need to work on?
"I’m quick off the snap. I’ve got a nasty bull-rush. I can occupy multiple linemen and collapse the pocket. I feel that you can always get better at anything, so I’m a guy who’s going to keep working on my craft."
What do you think is going to be toughest in your transition from the college game to the pros?
"The wear and tear of a 17-week season, plus the playoffs. That’ll be the biggest difference, and definitely one I look forward to."
I'd like to send a huge "Thank You" out to both Ron Brace and his representation, PlayersRep Sports Management (and to Nate Haber, in particular), for making this interview happen. Good luck to Ron and I hope to see him in a Dolphins uniform in a few months!