After making yet another AFC Championship Game last season, the New England Patriots were once again relegated to drafting at the end of the first round. With the best prospects gone at this point, one way to find top of the draft talent is to take a chance on players who have a history of injury problems.
This is exactly what the Patriots did in selecting Dominique Easley out of the University of Florida with the 29th pick in the 1st Round. Easley was one of the most talented defensive lineman in this year’s draft, but many teams had doubts about him because of his knee problems. The 6 foot 2, 288 pound lineman has torn his ACL in both knees in the last few years.
In taking Easley, the Patriots are betting on the fact that he will be able to stay healthy. And judging by Bill Belichick’s recent comments, they think it’s a pretty good bet. Talking on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Belichick had the following to say in regards to drafting Easley:
“We’re confident that he’ll be able to return from the injury like almost everybody who’s had an ACL has, so I don’t think it’s the type of injury that isn’t pretty common in our league,” he said. “He’s working hard to rehab and hopefully he’ll be OK. I think when he is, we feel like we got good value for that pick.”
An ACL tear is no longer the debilitating injury it used to be, but any time a player is dealing with multiple tears, it starts to become more of a concern. Only time can tell if the Patriots gambled correctly in drafting Easley.