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Adam Schefter on D&C: If Dominique Easley stays healthy, ‘he can be a force’

05.12.14 at 9:24 am ET

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ selections in the NFL draft and the Michael Sam situation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots turned some heads when they used their second-round pick, No. 62 overall, on Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garappolo despite having Tom Brady as their starter.

“I go back to the combine,” Schefter said. “I remember sitting with [ESPN analyst and former Bills, Panthers and Colts executive] Bill Polian, and Bill Polian saying at the combine that he thought Jimmy Garappolo would be a first-round draft pick. First round. So if Bill Polian, who was a six-time Executive of the Year, says at the combine that he thinks Garappolo is going to go in Round 1, that tells you that people like him. And there are people who believe the Houston Texans were poised to take Garappolo at the top of Round [3], and the Patriots got him right before the Texans did.

“Here’s the bottom line on that: If Jimmy Garappolo pans out — we won’t know that for a few years, period — if he pans out, then he is going to be the best pick in spades. And if he doesn’t, then people will question it and wonder about it. For a team that’s close to being a perennial Super Bowl contender each year, a lot of people, I guess, might wonder why you’re taking a quarterback that may not even impact the team this year. But if that guy is a huge component of the Patriots organization for the next 10, 12 years, nobody’s going to wonder about it.”

Added Schefter: “I had a chance to speak to the majority of the teams before the draft. I would think by and large, making a general assessment, I think teams like [Johnny] Manziel, [Blake] Bortles, [Derek] Carr and Garoppolo the best. The best of all the teams that I spoke to.”

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said the Patriots would have considered taking Manziel at No. 29 overall if the controversial Texas A&M star was available (he went at No. 22 to the Browns).

“It wouldn’t have surprised me,” Schefter said. “I know New England liked him, and I know New England is usually going to go by its board. So let’s just say Johnny Manziel slides down to New England’s turn. Would I have been surprised if they took him there? Not at all. Not at all.”

The Pats instead used their first-round pick on Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley, who has had ACL surgery on both knees in the past three years.

“I knew the Patriots happened to love that guy, Dominique Easley,” Schefter said. “It would have been interesting if he and Manziel both were there, what they would have done. … I think that with Easley, they had a high grade on him and they really liked him. And were it not for the knee injuries … But the fact of the matter is this guy was a very gifted, talented player. The knee injuries got in the way and pushed him down to New England’s slot.

“If he stays healthy, he can be a force. But if he doesn’t, then they swung and missed on that pick. But again, there’s an inherent risk with every single pick that every team makes. The risk with Easley is not his talent, not what he can do, not his production. It’s whether he can stay healthy. And if he can, then they’ve got themselves a great player. If he can’t, then they missed on the pick.”

Sam, the Missouri standout who is bidding to become the first openly gay NFL player, was drafted late in the seventh round by the Rams, surprising some who thought the SEC’s co-Defensive Player of the Year would go higher. However, Schefter said Sam’s placement was precisely what was expected by those in the know.

“Absolutely. A hundred percent,” Schefter said. “In fact, I thought there was a real chance he wasn’t going to get drafted at all. … I spoke to teams before the draft that told me that even before Michael Sam came out with his announcement that he was openly gay and discussed his sexual orientation, they had him listed as an undrafted free agent. That was before the combine, where he didn’t do anything to help his cause.”

Read More: adam schefter, Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garroppolo, Johnny Manziel



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