30 for No. 29: This is the first in a daily series of looks at 30 prospects the Patriots may consider selecting with the 29th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.
DOMINIQUE EASLEY, FLORIDA, DT
Height: 6-foot-2. Weight: 288. Stats: 38 games, 72 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
A 2013 team captain for the Gators, Easley gets off at the snap like a bullet. The Staten Island native got to Florida in 2010 as the second-rated defensive tackle recruit in the nation, but saw his college career marred by a blown ACL on each knee (left in 2011, right in 2013 on non-contact practice rep). Never had a chance to realize his full potential because of the injury issues. Here’s an excellent summation of Easley by Mike Tanier.
TO THE GOOD
Incredibly explosive initial burst that carries into a solid, leverage-gaining push on the second and third steps, or allows Easley to get wary offensive linemen leaning and reaching to keep him bottled up. Keeps pursuing and can play inside or outside.
TO THE BAD
The two blown ACLs are going to make teams extremely wary. Tanier, in the link above, opined that Easley would be mentioned in the same breath as Jadeveon Clowney if it weren’t for the knee issues. The most recent one, coming three games into the 2013 season, was an ACL/MCL, which means Easley will not be able to go through a full workout prior to the draft
Yes . . . as a second-rounder, though. Bill Belichick loves the second-round risks (Brandon Spikes, Rob Gronkowski). Easley is a perfect example of that. He is a little undersized relative to the dimensions the Patriots like in their defensive tackles. Additionally, if the team does select him, using him in a reactive, two-gapping system would be counterproductive to his greatest skill: getting upfield and into the backfield.
Walterfootball.com: To the Miami Dolphins at No. 50
Mel Kiper: To the Tennessee Titans at No. 77
NEPatriots Draft: To the Patriots in the second round.