The New England Patriots have announced the signing of their first round pick, Dominique Easley. The former Florida defensive tackle is currently trying to recover from an ACL tear he suffered during the season and it is unclear what he will be able to do this year. Conceivably, he could start the year on the Physically Unable to Perform List and be evaluated later in the year, possibly coming into help them for a stretch run. If not for the injury, there are more than a few analysts that felt Easley would have been a top 10 pick in this year’s draft.
Easley was an inconsistent player that had the light go on against Louisville last year in their bowl game, despite the loss. He was as impressive as anyone that played in that game, really getting his pad level down and making a huge impact throughout the game. That carried over to this season before he went down with the ACL injury; the second of his career.
If Easley can get back to 100% and avoid any further knee issues, he can be big time player for the Patriots, functioning as a 3-technique defensive tackle or kicking outside to a 5-technique defensive end depending on their formation. Easley has a terrific first step and is able to dictate the action early with quickness and then strength to be an effective run stopper and pass rusher.