Richard, Vollmer land Patriot deals

By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / July 16, 2009
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According to two league sources, the Patriots have signed rookie defensive lineman Darryl Richard, the second of their two seventh-round picks (No. 234 overall), to a four-year deal.

The deal was reached earlier this week.

The last of the 12 players the Patriots picked in the 2009 draft, Richard is the fourth draft pick to ink a deal with the Patriots, joining cornerback Darius Butler, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, and fellow defensive lineman Myron Pryor.

In addition, the team has reached a preliminary agreement with Sebastian Vollmer, another second-round pick, and the sides are expected to finalize things today, according to a league source. Vollmer is an offensive tackle out of the University of Houston by way of Germany.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 290-pound Richard was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection for Georgia Tech last season, after he had 34 tackles, 10 for a loss, and four sacks.

One of Richard’s greatest assets - on and off the field - is his intelligence. He scored a 37 on the Wonderlic test given to NFL draft prospects. That was the highest score of any Patriots pick, and the top mark among all defensive linemen in the draft.

Richard earned his bachelor’s degree in management in three years. He then completed a master’s degree in business administration in a year and a half, graduating one semester early. In 2008, he won the James E. Tatum Award, presented to the ACC’s top student-athlete among football players.

The league source said terms of the Vollmer deal “have been pretty much agreed to’’ and the source was confident it would be completed by today.

The 6-8, 315-pound Vollmer is one of the more interesting Patriots draft picks in recent memory. Born in Düsseldorf, Germany, he did not start playing football until he was 14, but still led his German prep school team to a pair of national titles.

He spoke almost no English when he signed on to play college football at Houston in 2004, but he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the school and is working on a degree in economics.

Vollmer started out as a tight end at Houston and grew into a first-team Conference USA left tackle. He started the last 25 games of his career at tackle for the Cougars.

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