Patriots Open 2015 In 99 Days: Profiling No. 99 Dominique Easley


Welcome to the first edition of Musket Fire’s countdown-oriented player profile series. The New England Patriots open the 2015 regular season in 99 days, so we’re going to profile the owner of the No. 99 jersey, defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Note that Easley is changing his jersey number this season, as Oliver Thomas of 247Sports tells us.  As a rookie in 2014, Easley wore No. 74, but after the release of defensive end Michael Buchanan last month, the No. 99 jersey was freed up.

Easley suited up in eleven regular season games last year, totaling only six tackles but managing to record a sack and an interception (an acrobatic one, against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2). His impact was minimal, mainly because of his nagging knee injuries and the beef provided by Vince Wilfork on the interior of the defensive line.

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But now that Wilfork is no longer a Patriot, the door is open for Easley in 2015. Expect the Patriots to pair the sophomore pro with 2015 first-rounder Malcom Brown as the team reconfigures the front seven.

Playing alongside Brown, with pass rushing specialists Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich surrounding him, the sky is the limit for Easley this season. He brings a kind of athleticism to the defensive tackle position that could really boost the Patriots’ defense in 2015.

Remember, back in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks were ready to pounce on Easley if he had lasted to the end of the first round. Smartly, the Patriots nabbed Easley before the Seahawks could get their hands on him, and after an injury-abbreviated rookie campaign, it’s clear that Easley is ready to take off.

It’s also evident that Easley is getting pretty comfortable in Foxboro a calendar year into his NFL career; earlier this week, Easley told WBZ’s Dan Roche that Bill Belichick is a “jokester”. He also told Roche that he will host a youth football camp called Champs Camp in Medford, Mass. next month.

Tomorrow, it will be 98 days until kickoff against the Steelers. Be sure to visit Musket Fire as we profile No. 98, Antonio Johnson.