With their first pick of this year’s NFL draft, the Patriots selected defensive tackle Dominique Easley, out of Florida.
This definitely fills a big need for the Pats, as coming into the draft it was thought that the defensive line, and the tight ends were two areas where New England had to improve in this draft.
Easley has talent. There is no denying that. He is an explosive interior pass rusher, and while he is on the smaller side for a defensive tackle, he showed that he can play the run decently. Here is what CBS Sports had to say on Easley’s strengths:
Easley proved a quick-healer after a torn ACL in 2010, by coming back to start 11 games in 2012 and showed versatility, lining up at defensive end. Easley’s tackle numbers dropped overall (26) but he finished with more big plays (8.5 for loss, team-leading four sacks), including 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the Sugar Bowl loss. Easley’s explosiveness off the ball has been among the best in the conference. He also has quick, active hands to slap away blockers and is able to hold up well against the run at this level due to good core strength.
Now the big question mark with Easley, is his health. If his knees aren’t bothering him anymore, this pick could really help elevate New England’s front seven. However if his knees aren’t completely healed, then Easley may end up bouncing back and forth between the field and the bench, and not only that, he might never live up to his excellent talent on the football field.
For some good news regarding his knee, here is what Nick Underhill had to report on this shortly after the pick was made:
I’m told that Easley’s knee is “all good.”
— Nick Underhill (@Nick_Underhill) May 9, 2014
Only time will tell. Stay here on Musket Fire throughout the weekend for constant draft coverage and analysis.