BOSTON (CBS) — In what has become an annual tradition at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots introduced their first pick in the NFL Draft on Monday morning.
Defensive lineman Dominique Easley, who New England drafted 29th overall Thursday night, joined Patriots owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft at mid-field on Monday.
“I’ve been watching them for years, so it’s a blessing and an honor,” the former Florida Gator said of joining the Patriots. “I plan to do everything they ask me to do, and do it to the best ability I can.”
Easley and the Patriots’ eight other draft picks got to town Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a meal together later that evening. They went through their physical on Monday and then had a meeting with head coach Bill Belichick.
“(He told us) we’re a little far behind and we have some work to do,” said Easley. “Everybody wants to be great, so we have a lot of work to do.”
The 6-2 Easley is currently recovering from a torn ACL he suffered at the beginning of his senior year, and has already met with the New England medical staff about his recovery. When asked about a target date, Easley responded, “as soon as possible.”
The 22-year-old used to bring a Chucky doll with him to games at Florida, but said he doesn’t plan to bring it to the NFL.
“It was a birthday present from my girlfriend and I just stuck with it,” he explained of his unique companion. “I used to always watch it when I was younger and thought it was funny.”
Easley did have a gold chain around his neck though on Monday, a tribute to his one-year-old son, Dominique II.
“Since he’s not able to be here with me, I carry him everywhere I go,” he said.
Robert Kraft made note of Easley’s upbringing in Staten Island, New York, and that it connects him to former Patriot Joe Andruzzi. While the Andruzzi’s consisted of firemen and police officers, Kraft applauded Easley for his father and older brother, who both served in the military. Kraft also noted that Easley is a member of the same fraternity at Florida that Kraft was part of at Columbia.
“He’s connected to the same fraternity in Florida that I was at Columbia, so that makes us brothers,” said Kraft.”Being from Staten Island, he’s like another special family that is part of our family – The Andruzzi’s. They’re policemen and three brothers are firemen, the same way Dominque’s family served our country. His father David has done two stints overseas, and his older brother David was also in Iraq.
“It’s a great family and we’re honored to have him here,” said Kraft.
While he won’t be bringing Chucky with him to New England, there is one on-field trait that may make its way up north.
“I understand he’s a great dancer,” Kraft said of Easley. “Not that we’re looking for after-sack dances, but you never know. We’ll leave that to him.”
Easley, who wore No. 2 at Florida, said his locker had the No. 74 above it. When asked about the change, he said the number on the jersey doesn’t really matter.
“The name makes the jersey, you know?”
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