BOSTON (CBS) – To the shock of many, the Patriots drafted Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley in the first round with the 29th pick overall.
Considered by many to be a top 15, or even top 10 talent, Easley slipped because of ACL injuries to both of his knees during his time in Gainesville. The 6-2 Easley is currently recovering from a torn ACL he suffered at the beginning of his senior year, and is expected to make a full recovery after meeting with and getting the green light from the New England medical staff.
When asked about a target date during his introductory press conference, Easley responded, “as soon as possible.”
Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show Tuesday night to discuss the readiness of Easley, the Patriots offseason and much more.
For Daniels’ money, the depth at defensive line will make it easy for the Patriots to take their time with Easley.
“It’s interesting because a couple of weeks ago I talked to Tony Villani, who trained and rehabbed Dominique from December through March, and he told me on the schedule Easley is on, he should be ready come August. [Villani] said he’s probably around ninety, ninety-five percent right now. He’s a hard worker, a fast healer and should be ready come training camp.
“I know right now he’s limited for the Patriots. Now granted, they’re not doing contact drills. They’re doing more conditioning-type things. I think the Patriots will be cautious with him. I think with the depth on the defensive line they can be cautious. But I really, really think, even talking to his hometown trainer Ivan Candelaria the other week, he was saying too that he expects Dominique to start this season.
“From all that, yeah I think he’s gonna be in there [Week 1]. It’ll definitely be one of the mini storylines to watch this summer.”
As far as the other draft picks are concerned, specifically the three offensive line selections, Daniels isn’t so sure how many rookies will be able to contribute outside of Easley.
For the sake of Patriots fans everywhere, Jimmy Garoppolo better not make any contributions for the next four seasons.
Listen below for the full discussion: