Oct 6, 2012; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley (2) during the third quarter against the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft 2014: Instant Analysis Of Selection Of Dominique Easley

Aug 31, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley (2) works out prior to the game against the Toledo Rockets at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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:

Only time will tell. Stay here on Musket Fire throughout the weekend for constant draft coverage and analysis.

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Tags: Dominique Easley New England Patriots NFL Draft

  • Tigerlily

    These guys cleaned up despite the injury list. The nfl is very different ball than NCAA and although a harder game it is also easier to avoid these mishaps with medical attention that is preemptive. The pats know this well if you look at their ACL injuries it is near nil and so the risk is lower for them. Smart planning and smart team management. And I hate the Pats.

    • Mattia Rizzo

      So near nil that Easley is going in rotation with another player coming back from ACL surgery, Tommy Kelly.

      • Tigerlily

        I didn’t say perfect and you managed to identify the one semi-significant counter example. Give credit when due that they have the best player medical support and prevention program in the nfl by far. Compare to any other team and you can see its a reason why the Pats often stay strong. Perfect? No. Strength? Very much so.

    • Cyrus Geller

      Unusual to hear that kind of praise coming from a Pats hater. But I agree. I love this pick, and as long as he can stay healthy, he will become a terrific player for BB.

  • Mattia Rizzo

    With Kony Ealy and Nix still available… Huge risk for me, I’m the kind of guy that is not going to bet against health or character concerns on prospects.

    • Cyrus Geller

      None of those guys bring the explosiveness from the inside like Easley does. Getting some push from the middle is a key element to a good pass rush.