BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots drafted defensive tackle Dominique Easley out of Florida with the 29th overall pick Thursday night in New York City.
The 6-2, 288-pound Easley is currently recovering from a right ruptured ACL that kept him out of pre-draft workouts. He also tore his left ACL during the 2011 season. If not for those injuries many felt he’d be taken in the top 15, so getting him late in the first round could end up proving to be a steal.
Easley comes with an injury history, but the upside of talent and potential was too much to pass up at no. 29. That, plus an interior pass rusher is so important nowadays in creating pressure up the middle in the modern NFL — which is admittedly hard to find.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Mike Felger, who has historically been hard on the Patriots and the way they approach the draft, gave the team a passing grade with flying colors for taking Easley.
“I loved this pick. Love it. And I don’t even know the player. It constitutes more risk than value. My request going into the draft was stay in the first round and draft on defense. What’d they do? They stayed in the first round and drafted on defense,” said Felger.
“Furthermore, while I was hoping more for an outside guy than an inside guy, this happens to be an inside guy who is an up-the-field player — so fine! Just the same! You can call him a passing game player. He is a little more slender than your typical defensive lineman nowadays.
“But what I love the most out of it is this is the exact kind of guy they should be drafting at no. 29. When they are as good as they are you can sort of take a chance on an injury guy with a lot of upside. They stood where they were and they drafted the guy.
“Before he got hurt he was considered in the Jadeveon Clowney territory. And it’s probably a reasonable bet given the medical science and what these guys take and how it’s come so far. We’re talking about Dennis Seidenberg coming back from an ACL/MCL in five months! I’m not bothered by the fact he’s had an ACL injury, and I’m not bothered by the fact he’s had TWO ACL injuries!
“His upside is through the roof,” concluded Felger.
Listen below to hear Mazz and Beetle’s take: