You can read plenty on the newest Patriot, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, in today’s Boston Globe. And we’ll have some great insight on their first-round pick (No. 29 overall) later today.
But for now let’s take a closer look at a few nuggets about Easley:
■ He is a native of Staten Island, N.Y., and was rated a five-star prospect and the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country by Scout and Rivals.com.
■ He played in 32 games with 26 starts in four years at Florida. He finished with 18 tackles for a loss, 5½ sacks, 1 pass breakup, 1 fumble recovery, and 72 tackles as a defensive tackle and end. He had 7½ tackles for a loss and 1½ sacks as a sophomore and 8½ tackles for a loss and 4 sacks as a junior.
■ He tore the ACL in his right knee in the Gator Bowl at the end of the 2011 season, and tore his left ACL in late September of 2013. Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said the most recent ACL tear was suffered “non-contact” in practice. “He was turning, running on a screen pass, and just tweaked it,” Durkin said at the time.
■ Here’s what Patriots coach Bill Belichick had to say about Easley last night:
“He’s a versatile guy that’s played different positions along the defensive line . . . You see him against guys that are either in the league from previous years or guys that you have on your draft board this year or you’re going to have on there next year. I think he’s a very disruptive player and he showed up against good competition.”
“He’s an explosive player. Very explosive . . . He’s played everywhere along the defensive line. 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.”
■ Here is what Florida coach Will Muschamp said about Easley shortly after he tore his ACL in 2013:
“He’ll have plenty of interest. He’s going to be a productive guy on the next level. He’s a really good football player. He’s extremely intelligent. He gets the game. His tape speaks for itself in how he plays the game, how he approaches the game. He’ll be fine. There will be a lot of organizations that want him in their organization.”
■ The Seahawks traded out of the 32d pick reportedly because Easley went off the board, and Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn coached Easley at Florida and really wanted him.
■ But opinions on Easley are mixed. Here’s what one high-ranking AFC personnel executive tells us:
“New England always adapts to their personnel, so regardless of 4-3 or 3-4 defense, he’s a good talent. But he’s a one-gap player. Can be good in the nickel pass rush, gets off the ball. But medically, he’s got baggage.
“He was hard to quantify, because of how teams measured the risk with the injury history. If Easley were not an injury guy, he’s a first- or second-round talent, but in the right scheme. It’s just, can he stay healthy? And what’s the assessment of his durability? It’s one thing to say he’s healthy and good to go, and another thing to measure durability.”
■ Easley is an interesting cat. He’s kind of a goofy personality and not your typical jock. He’s more into cartooning than football, and doesn’t watch football on TV outside of his film study.
He said last August, “I don’t watch football. Watch me some Spongebob, man.”
And here was his full exchange at the Combine about not being much of a football watcher:
(When healthy, whom does he compare to in the NFL)
“I don’t really watch football, so I just try to be who I am.”
(Not a fan?)
“I like to play. I don’t like to watch on TV.”
“Yeah, I do tape study.”
(Worry that people might read wrong way?)
“No. Just because you’re not watching football doesn’t mean you don’t love football. I have another life also.”
(What does he do in other life?)
“Hang out with my son.”
(How old is he?)
“One year old.”
(Ever watched NFL game start to finish?)
“Not start to finish. I might change it to a cartoon or something.”
(Longest he’s watched a game?)
“About . . . Completely? About two quarters.”
(As a kid?)
“I was more of a cartoonist back then, too.”
Easley also had this really creepy Chucky doll that the Gators kept in the locker room last year when he was injured.