Yes, it is way too early for grades, but we all like doing them anyway. Obviously this is just an initial grade, as you really can’t grade a player until he has been in the league for a few years.
Dominique Easley: B+
The only reason Easley is brought down to a B+, is because of his injuries. He is extremely talented, and his ability to bring pressure from the middle is something that New England has wanted in its defense for a long time. Easley is lighter than one would hope, but based on everything I have seen, and everything I have read, he can hold his own in the running game.
As far as need, this was the number two need for me heading into the draft. I personally would have liked to see the Pats go after a tight end with this pick, but I am definitely satisfied with Easley. Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly are both coming off of major injuries, and while they are expected to recover nicely, having a young, explosive player like Easley in there to help get the Pats defense on track, will be extremely beneficial to Bill Belichick and company.
Overall, it was a good pick, but his history of knee injuries is concerning. However I think that the Patriots are confident that Easley is fully recovered from those surgeries, because if he wasn’t, I doubt they would have picked him in the first round.