Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley will opt to enter the NFL Draft in 2014 rather than take a medical redshirt and go back for another year in Gainesville. The news came from head coach Will Muschamp and all things considered, this was the best choice for Easley. The ACL tear that took Easley out for the second, unfortunately the second of his career with one to each knee, happened early enough in the year where Easley will be able to make significant progress in his recovery before the NFL Draft. Easley is more than talented enough where as long as his knees have recovered enough and do not look bad in a medical check at the NFL combine, he could still go early in the draft.
It remains to be seen how high he will go but Cornellius Carradine could be a solid indicator. Carradine was a breakout star for the Florida State Seminoles and went down with a knee injury in the last regular season game of the year. After an incredible recovery, Carradine was able to work out for NFL teams before the draft. He was not fully recovered but was able to look promising in his opportunity. Carradine, despite being put on injured reserve for this year to recover, was still drafted in the early part of the second round by the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers could end up with a first round caliber talent in their defense next year when Carradine is fully recovered and it becomes a great investment. Easley will have more time to recover with the NFL Draft happening in May now, so while Carradine might not be a hard and fast rule by any stretch, the situations could end up quite similar. After showing potential and flashes his first years for the Gators, Easley made the adjustments necessary to be a dominant player this year in the games he played, so he will draw a ton of attention from teams in the upcoming draft.