Patriots Select Florida’s Easley in First Round of NFL Draft
NEW YORK (WGGB) — With the 29th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots secured a much-needed defensive talent.
New England selected defensive tackle Dominique Easley from the University of Florida.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Gator from Staten Island, N.Y. saw his senior season cut short in September of 2013, after tearing his ACL and medial meniscus in his right knee.
Clearly, the injury was no concern for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the front office.
With just 5 tackles to point to in his final season, Easley put up decent numbers at the NFL Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in a solid 5.0 seconds, but managed just 26 reps on the bench press.
However, his strength is undeniable. After seeing little time as a freshman on a talented Florida team in 2010, Easley returned his sophomore year to tally 37 total tackles. He added 26 tackles his junior year, 8.5 of which came for a loss.
He proved he could improve his pass rush, getting 4 sacks in 2012.
Easley’s real value comes in his quickness off the line and his ability to keep offensive linemen on their heels.
Easley will be a major improvement for a Patriots team that allowed 134 rushing yards per game in 2013-14.
Though New England is talented along the defensive line, with Chandler Jones, Chris Jones, Vince Wilfork, and Rob Ninkovich, their defense was third-to-last in rushing yards against them.
They were only 18th in passing yards against them, showing an inability to get pressure on the quarterback.
Easley should help those woes, but don’t expect the Patriots to stop there. Coach Belichick will likely add plenty of defensive talent as the subsequent rounds of the NFL Draft get underway.