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3 early thoughts on Dominique Easley

05.09.14 at 12:05 am ET
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Three early thoughts on Dominique Easley:

1. Easley has an interesting injury history. He suffered a ruptured right ACL and medial meniscus tear in 2013, and he also tore the ACL in his left knee in a game against Florida State in 2011. He said in April that his knee is about 80-85 percent healed, but it will have to hold up against some elite-level competition if he wants to succeed on a consistent basis in the NFL. At the same time, there’s a serious belief that if Easley had two completely healthy knees, he’d be a top of the first round talent.

2. We wrote several times over the course of the pre-draft process that the Patriots need to start thinking about life after Vince Wilfork, and while Easley doesn’t have the same sort of body type as Wilfork, the pick was made with an eye toward the post-Wilfork era. A big body who can fill multiple spots up front, Easley is the sort of player who can step in and learn from veterans like Wilfork and Tommy Kelly. History tells us that whenever the Patriots have invested a first-round pick in a defensive linemen, they’ve come away happy, and they certainly hope that there’s a similar reason for optimism around Easley.

3. He’s another Gator. With Brandon Spikes‘ decision to depart as a free agent this offseason, it appeared that New England’s streak of drafting and/or acquiring former Florida players might have come to an end. But Easley allows the Patriots to keep that string alive. “You want him in your locker room. He is a really good player but I think is his competitive edge is a huge talent that he has, probably his No. 1 talent,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said of Easley in April. “I think he’s got a great ceiling. He’s a guy that hasn’t played his best football yet. I think that’s all in front of him. He loves competing and he loves playing.”

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, Dominique Easley,
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