Ron Brace Expected to Step Up on Patriots’ Defensive Line

FOXBORO, Mass. — Just a few days remain before league-mandated roster cuts, and a handful of positional competitions have yet to fully shake out in New England. Thursday's preseason finale in New York will be the bubble players' last chance to prove their worth.

Let's shift the bubble watch to the Patriots' defensive line, which has already lost three players to injured reserve. It's also a unique bubble battle because the last three players on the depth chart aren’t so much competing against one another, as they're more likely trying to show they'd be more worthy than, say, carrying an extra linebacker.

Who's in
Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright, Gerard Warren, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace

Who's out
None

Bubble Watch
Damione Lewis, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love

Bubble Analysis
Lewis is pretty close to a sure thing, and Deaderick will likely be there because the Patriots need depth at defensive end. Love is a nose tackle, so his job security is a little more difficult to project. Wilfork and Pryor are a pretty good one-two punch at nose tackle, and Wright, Brace and Warren can all play there if need be.

It's a shot in the dark, but if Bill Belichick feels Love can be serviceable on the end of the line, it will increase his chances of making the club. Otherwise, it would be ideal for the Patriots if they could sneak him onto the practice squad.

Wild Card
Ty Warren, Kade Weston
and Darryl Richard have all hit injured reserve, so it's just a small group remaining in the final week of the preseason. Warren's injury is the most significant the Patriots have faced this summer, while Weston and Richard had a slim chance of making the team anyway.

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