The New England Patriots took a player many hadn’t heard of in the first round of the NFL Draft last month in Florida’s Dominique Easley. But when he was selected, rumors began that the Seahawks had wanted to draft him, that he could have been a top-10 pick if not for ACL injuries to both knees. Now, Sport Illustrated’s Doug Farrar went as far as saying that Easley could have been better than Jadeveon Clowney. Farrar also thinks Easley could have been in the conversation for the No. 1 selection.
“Both injuries were non-contact in nature, and most analysts believe that had those injuries not happened, and Easley had been able to play at his collegiate level, he would have been a top-10 pick. I’d go a step further and say that if Easley had been injury-free at Florida, he might have been the first player taken overall; at the very least, the discussion regarding the best defensive player in this draft class would have been far more interesting.”
Farrar breaks down the explosiveness and abrupt disruption of which Easley was capable. The sample size is so small that he can make sweeping assertions, imagining what Easley could have accomplished in all the games he missed.
Easley provides great intrigue because of this tiny sample size. He was able to demonstrate a great deal of versatility, and his ability to rush the passer with a great deal of pass rush moves wows Farrar. His ability to shift along the line and the 3-4 and 4-3 is amazing, and those are attributes Bill Belichick salivates over.
“He’s played everywhere along the defensive line,” the coach said on May 8, just after the first round wrapped up. “It depends on where you put him. I’ll say you don’t see a lot of guys who do that – who play, I mean, he lines up on the nose, he lines up on the guard, he lines up on the tackle, he lines up out wide at times. You can see him playing all those spots… He does a lot of things well. He’s a smart guy, he’s very instinctive. He’s got a great motor, works hard. Football is very important to him. He’s an all-in guy. There’s not much to not like about him.”