2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Florida Defensive Lineman Dominique Easley

Ligament tears in both knees have derailed him, but Florida’s Dominique Easley continues to battle back. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this ninth installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Coming out of Curtis High School in Staten Island, N.Y., Dominique Easley was a five-star recruit. He was the second-ranked defensive tackle in the 2010 class by Rivals.com and Scout.com. He was invited to the Under Armour All-America Game that January. And by that February, the 6’2”, 255-pound Warrior was committed to the Florida Gators.

Five months later, Easley was enrolled down in Gainesville. He flashed enough promise that summer to avoid redshirt that fall, ultimately playing in six games and recording four tackles as a true freshman. Although in 2011, the preseason All-SEC third-teamer did more than flash; he started all 12 regular-season contests to register 37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a blocked punt.

He wouldn’t make a 13th start as a sophomore, though. A second-quarter play versus Florida State took that from him.

Easley planted his left leg in the Ben Griffin Hill Stadium grass and went down without contact. And after limping to the sideline under the assistance of Florida’s medical staff, the flourishing 288-pounder had to be carted off.

It was a torn ACL. But it wasn’t the last of him.

Despite missing spring practices, Easley was healthy to start 11 games as a junior in 2012. And despite missing two games following a knee scare against Tennessee that gave way to swelling, he went on to tally 26 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, a team-best four sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass deflection. His impact, though, went far beyond the numbers; his impact went into backfields.

That momentum carried over into 2013. The disruptive senior garnered recognition as a preseason first-team All-SEC selection. He found his name on the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, the Nagurski Award and the Outland Trophy watch lists. He was voted team captain as well.

But just three games, five tackles and two tackles for loss into what was supposed to be his year, Easley’s collegiate career came to an end during practice on Sept. 24. It happened in a non-contact situation once again. This time, Easley had torn the ACL and medial meniscus his right knee.

The Gators couldn’t replace the interior void left by the 26-game starter. He wouldn’t attempt to replace his final year of NCAA eligibility, either, eventually withdrawing from classes to set his focus on recovering for the 2014 NFL draft.

“He’ll have plenty of interest,” Gators head coach Will Muschamp told The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu on Sept. 30. “He’ll 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 and how he plays the game and approaches the game. He’ll be fine. There will be a lot of organizations that want him.”

One of the organizations that may want him sits at the end of Round 1: Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

If not for medical concerns, the undersized but explosive 22-year-old wouldn’t make it within shouting distance of pick 29 overall. This, however, isn’t an ordinary case. Easley does have medical concerns that could keep him off the board well through Day 2. But he also has tremendous talent.

Even if he doesn’t enjoy watching football games, his own games can be viewed thanks to our friends at DraftBreakdown.com. With that in mind, here is closer look at the impact of No. 2.

A Tenacious, Sudden, Versatile Pass-Rusher

Production-wise, Easley’s numbers at Florida didn’t re-write the record books. Part of that was because of medical misfortune. Part of that was because the Gators rotated as many as 10 defensive linemen to keep its constituents fresh. Nevertheless, to use an adage coined by Rotoworld.com’s Josh Norris, Easley’s production was seen in his disruption.

Pass protection has to account for Easley’s diverse presence whenever he’s in the huddle, considering he loomed anywhere from nose tackle to the nine-technique during his time at Florida. They need to do so while combating his pre-snap idiosyncrasies.

Like the arm dance.

Or the alligator roll.

The lone certainty when facing the enigmatic Easley is his rapid first step. After all, few are out of their stance by the time he’s across the line of scrimmage.

He makes the most of that responsiveness by propelling into gaps or carving around on stunts.

Albeit without overpowering strength or bulk, Easley sparks plays through his functional leverage, lean and active hands. He isn’t a catcher; he is one to make first contact, extending and locking his arms as he divides the blocking scheme. From there, his downhill speed and lateral agility often yield offensive holding penalties – he drew three last season against the Miami Hurricanes, alone.

Now there are times when Easley is on the wrong end of penalties as well, since he has a penchant for jumping the snap. When he gets off late, which is seldom, he loses the upper hand.  He can struggle to disengage from a matchup due to a blocker’s length, hand replacement and his 32 7/8-inch arms. And when his initial release is met with lapses in technique, he tends to lose control.

More prominently, though, Easley’s rip and swim moves are difficult to harness at the point of attack. Though he isn’t a prototypical bull-rusher, his playing style remains a dynamic one. Whether he’s aligned over the center or outside the offensive tackle, Easley is a threat to crash through gaps, slant across the face of blocks, or run the arc. He can close the pocket. He can flush quarterbacks from them.

He can also track them down.

This was seen against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 10, 2012

Early in the first quarter on 1st-and-10, the Ragin’ Cajuns assembled in the Pistol formation for a one-back, one-tight end set for a play-action rollout. The offline tight end was set to motion to the near hash before the snap on a flat route, while the back was set to inherit the designed fake. Concurrently, the receivers were set to run fly, shallow cross and fade patterns in the hopes that Florida’s single-high 4-2 defense would bite.

Easley crouched in the seven technique opposite the right tackle and the leftward-merging offensive line.

It was a discrepancy he would exploit.

As 6’2”, 211-pound quarterback Terrance Broadway handled the snap and turned to the tailback, the line doubled Florida’s two defensive tackles, leaving Easley room to storm the corner with swift snap recognition.

He did, bending around occupied right tackle Jaron Odom while maintaining sight of the ball.

He saw where the play was heading. He saw where tight end Jacob Maxwell was, too. And at that moment, Easley showed the body control to stop his sprint and plant in one fell swoop.

He evened his frame towards the quarterback.

Then he popped his hips and chased him.

Broadway scrambled towards the sideline to buy time for his receivers. Yet in the meantime, Easley was the only one in his crosshairs.

The D-lineman caught up to the quarterback by following his eyes down a direct path. Consequently, he was the only player within eight yards of the ball.

As he got within three yards, he raised his arms into the air.

Then, after travelling 11 yards in under three seconds, he latched on. Broadway extended to stiff-arm Easley, but it was too late to evade him.

Easley lassoed the quarterback down for a sack inside the 10. Not only was it a 16-yard loss, it was a model of nimble feet, knee bend, fluid hips and closing speed.

Even if the QB is able to deliver a check-down pass, Easley is mobile and decisive enough to be an asset after the catch. He redirects and attacks. He does his best to finish each play the way he starts it.

A Violent, Relentless, One-Gap Run-Chaser

Although he lacks the physical benchmarks to be a two-gap interior lineman at the next level, that isn’t the nail in Easley’s skill set. His method of operation isn’t that of a run-stuffer; it’s that of a pass-rusher who can apply the same traits to defend the run.

Easley’s powerful lower body helps him get out of his three- and four-point stance. His hand use – and 26 bench reps of upper-body strength – helps him stack and shred. All the while, his aggressive nature helps him anticipate blocks and cut corners into the backfield.

The three-year starter’s experience all across the defensive line has gone a long way towards fine-tuning his responsibilities.

Easley isn’t the epitome of gap integrity, but he fires off the ball low and can dictate rush lanes while squaring to the ball-carrier. When gets overextended, he can get pulled to the ground. When combination blocks overwhelm him, he can lose leverage or get pancaked. And when his minimal range versus side blocks is exposed, he can be inundated on the spot.

However, even when he’s bulled back on occasion, his persistence and quick twitch spin him out of run blocks you wouldn’t expect him to. He doesn’t waste time averting a mistake. And if he is able to locate the ball in a timely manner, Easley displays the excellent closing speed and willingness to swarm rushers at the exchange, in the trenches, outside the tackle box or down the field.

At the very root of his ability versus the run, Easley is sudden enough to sweep underneath and behind blocks. He is able to do so right out of the gate.

This was illustrated against the University of Miami on Sept. 7.

On 1st-and-10 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Hurricanes offense dispersed in “11” personnel. Quarterback Stephen Morris stood in shotgun, accompanied by 5’9”, 196-pound halfback Duke Johnson for an inside-zone run.

Within this orchestration, the left tackle was primed to cut-block the right defensive tackle; the left guard was set to combo-block into the second level; the right guard was prepped to block the left end on his way into linebacker territory, while the right tackle was geared to neutralize the right end.

This left 6’4”, 296-pound center Shane McDermott in the middle of it all. He would have to pull rightward to cover Easley.

The three-technique would be ready.

And he would be slicing through the vacated left A-gap.

As Morris took the snap, the center broke towards Easley, who was out of his stance and waiting to go against the grain. Synchronously, safety Marcus Maye was gunning into the box and awaiting the tight end’s block.

Those two forces would prove integral.

Morris lowered his arms for the handoff as his line worked to clear pasture ahead. But in the thick of it was Easley, who took advantage of McDermott’s overrun block with turn-key footwork, the inside shoulder and clenched arms.

As that transpired, Maye was circling the outside.

Easley spread his arms to jar McDermott’s hands free, which compromised what was left of the run block and led to an unofficial hold.

Nonetheless, he was in the backfield and fast approaching the 900-yard rusher.

Easley lunged downhill and gripped the ball-carrier at the shoulder pads, dissolving any last-ditch course for the run.

Johnson attempted to veer outside, but reinforcement was already there.

Easley funneled the running back into his teammate, who cleaned up the rest.

The run was over before it began, spanning only two seconds.

A loss of six was the byproduct.

Even if he’ll likely be eased back in as a situational pass-rusher, it doesn’t take long to notice that Easley wants to be in on every play. He wants to be in the pile.

Few get there the way he does.

Outlook

Dominique Easley has been in this situation before, yet there are inevitable fears about his likelihood of enjoying a long NFL career.

We do not know what the future will bring for him. We do not know if teams will clear him medically. We do not know if he’s durable enough to be a three-down defensive lineman. We do not know how the cartilage in his knees will hold up over the course of a 16-game season.

But if there’s one thing we do know, it’s that he loves to play the game. And as long as he can, he has the drive and potential to be great at it.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Dominique Easley, Draft Close-Up, Film Breakdown, Florida

62 Responses to “2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Florida Defensive Lineman Dominique Easley”

  1. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Predictions

    Free Agents
    Parys Haralson LB Saints
    Wade Smith G Texans

    Draft
    1 Trade for 2nd and 3rd round picks.
    2 Kyle Van Noy LB BYU
    2 Martavis Bryant WR Clemson
    3 Colt Lyerla TE Oregon
    3 Daniel McCullers DT Tennessee
    4 Charles Sims RB West Virginia
    4 Jack Mewhort OT Ohio State
    6 Chris Watt G Notre Dame
    6 Rob Blanchflower TE UMass
    7 C.J. Barnett S Ohio State

    Still some quality free agents still out there.

    • Daniel R. Martin says:

      Mr. Sullivan I believe you should consider reprioritizing your mock. DT is less of a need now. However, if you would like our team to draft a DT there are several more talented players than McCullers who seems to have little more potential than being big. Colt Lyerla should definitely be drafted. However, he can be had in the 6th round. A WR is less important than a quality TE, especially in light of the recent signings of LaFell and the retention of Edelman. Consider Brandon Coleman in the 4th for a viable, developmental talent at the wideout position. A pass rushing d-end would benefit the team more than a LB. Our LB core is good and could benefit from depth. However, the status of the DE position is bleary. Team absolutely must aquire a talent to spell Jones and Nink.

      • Dan Sullivan says:

        Hello Mr. Martin

        Coleman I agree with I’ve seen him play and he is very athletic for a guy 6-6 and
        I do agree a standout defensive end to take pressure off of Ninkovich and Jones is needed.
        I don’t agree with what you say on McCullers and Lylerla I think both could be of great help
        to Pats in their first year here and have solid careers with Pats.

        Take Care and Enjoy the draft.

    • steve earle says:

      I do believe BB will trade down the #29. acm is right it will be harder this year then last but I still think it’s doable. No matter how I try to work my mocks taking this guy or that with #29 nothing makes for a stronget overall draft then the trade down. You see that clearly too Dan. So about your mock – I just don’t like any of your top 4 selections. Just me. Particular the 2, 3rd rounders. Lyerla in the 3rd? Please the guy is a red flag with fireworks. Do not care how talinted he is. nothing higher then a 6th please. McCullers ? I’ve said this many times – He’s a hugh man but a poor DT/NT. Does not get penetration vs pass, gets pushed open like a porch door vs run, very limited lateral pursuit. Please let some other team eat up a roster spot with him, not us.

      • J H TARBORO says:

        Steve E. It may not be that hard to trade down now, if you look at the list of comp picks some teams are receiving up to 4 picks and there is a lack of cap space among quite a few teams. Keep hope alive!

    • jim r says:

      Dan, very interesting. The hoodie does some strange things in the draft, I would not be surprised to see a couple of these players end up on the Pats. I think the trade back scenario is likely. getting a second and third in return would be outstanding.

  2. J H TARBORO says:

    We have been speaking a lot about the TE/H-back, the Pats was able to breathe new life into the position with Gronk and Hernandez. I’m trying to make the case for the FB/H-back position “aka” the power back, usually these guys are the strongest and most durable on the field and in the locker room. The Pats are a team that could think outside the box and could revamp the position, FBs are not just known to be good blockers, but they could be the most powerful and best weapon on the field. I believe a good FB can do same thing a TE does with a very destructive effect, most LBs And DBs don’t like to tackle these guys and they wear a defense down and they’re tone setters. A FB can be great pass catchers out of the backfield, in the slot, and lined up in the TE position. In this draft they’re number of good ones and it could be a secret weapon if used correctly. I have posted one example of many, just food for thought. http://youtu.be/tSQAFxa2ZwI

    • Daniel R. Martin says:

      I’ve only been watching football for about 6 years. This Alston guy was before my time. But Damn! That dude was incredible. If there is a Fullback in this draft that plays like that, I’d love the team to draft him.

  3. J H TARBORO says:

    I would like to see RB Andre Williams BC 6’0 230 come to the a Pats.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    Did we all forget about DT Sealver Siliga? He did extremely well for us and he’s returning, along with DL Marcus Forston.

    • Jack says:

      Yes, it seems like a lot of the media and fans have forgotten how well he did. Although it was only for a few games, but the guy did seem like a legit option at the interior of the defense.

  5. Daniel R. Martin says:

    I was looking at a guy named Kony Ealy. Cbs draft site has him ranked 22 overall and projected to go well within the 1st round. NFL.com has a 2nd-3rd round grade on him. Which site do you guys find tends to be more accurate?

    • J H TARBORO says:

      Dan, he should be a 1st rounder,. I like NFL.com but beware of some scouts opinions, we all have one and remember the tape doesn’t lie, trust what you see.

      • Daniel R. Martin says:

        Thanks. I believe CBS has opinions that are consistent with other draft sites far more so than NFL.com. They were way off it turns out. Now that Wilfork and Kelly will return to our multitude of DT’s, I am thinking we should give consideratio to investing a high pick on a DE that can spell Jones and Nink and really get after the passer. A good pass rushing defensive end and a solid pass rusher at OLB would be transformative of the defense, I believe.

        • steve earle says:

          I agree with you Dan. Even if Wolfolk and Kelly need to be spelled or even platooned that puts the focus more on DE. Tuitt from ND would be my first chioce if he is around at#29 or even possably, maybe a high 2nd (less likely) if BB trades down. I think depth is reasonable now at the position too so that puts deafting a DT before the 4th rd unlikely.
          I’d still like us to aquire Major Wright SS / FA from Chi. Looks like they are letting him go and he had 3 good years before 13 when he still had 100 tackles. Don’t know why he was so out of favor there, perhaps coverage? All of Chi def had a bad year in 13 so Wright could rebound here in NE and at least add needed depth? Maybe acm has the scoop, how about acm?

  6. Jack says:

    The Pats are starting to develop some depth on defense, which is great considering that they tend to be injury-ravaged. At DT, they will probably start the year with Siliga and one of Kelly, Wilfork or Armstead depending on health. That’s iffy, but then they have last year’s guys and possible draftees as filler. At DE, they have Chandler and Nink, but could really use another pass-rusher to take the load off those two. Certainly they’ve got depth at CB, Revis, Browner, Dennard, Ryan, Arrington – wow. If they shift Ryan to safety, then the nickel backfield will probably be McCourty, Ryan, Browner, Revis, with Dennard in the slot. Assuming Ryan pans out at safety, and I think he will be a solid cover guy there, if not a bruiser, that’s a very strong defensive backfield. And no more Talib getting nicked up in critical playoff games! It’s fun at least to think about the Pats defensive backfield!

    Onto the linebackers, now we have Mayo, Collins and Hightower. Collins really came on toward the end of last year and will certainly be featured in the nickel package – and may well be an every-down linebacker. Mayo is a tackling machine, although neither he nor Hightower are great in space. Hightower seemed to be making strides toward the end of the year, I think. They are a solid if not spectacular group, but lacking in depth, since losing Fletcher. I’m not sure how Beauharnais will pan out.

    So on the D, the Pats have made significant strides to adjusting to the pass-oriented league that the NFL has become. Collins is almost like another DB out there. If they go with two LBs and 4 DLs in the the nickel, imagine if Armstead pans out as a legit inside pass-rusher? Let’s say the DL in the nickel is Jones, Armstead, Kelly and Ninkovich. With Revis, Browner, Ryan, McCourty and Dennard as the dbs, and with Mayo and Collins dropping into coverage, you’ve got a solid coverage group with only Mayo as the liability, while all 4 DLs can get to the QB. Maybe Mayo even blitzes, for example. Or he brings in Arrington as the dime instead of Mayo, and blitzes him, or maybe Collins, depending on the matchups. Could Browner match up against a TE? Or Revis? Talib did against Graham last year, right?

    On offense – hmm. A lot of the success revolves around Gronk’s health. The Pats would probably have two more SB wins if he were healthy, but that aside, they clearly could use a quality TE to back him up and/or fill in the void left by Hernandez.

    All the X/Y receivers except Edelman had injury issues last year – Dobson, Amendola, Boyce, Thomkins. I’m not sure how much LaFell can offer as there’s speculation on whether he can even make the team or not, but they signed him at pretty significant money, considering, so he must have something going on. At RB, they’re covered with Ridley and Vereen, although they could use some depth there with Blount going to the Steelers. At OL, at the tackles they have Solder, Vollmer and Canon. On the interior, they Mankins on the left, Wendell at center, and Connelly on the right. You know Vollmer likely will be out hurt for some stretches, so Canon will have to fill in there, probably.

    At this point, it’s all about the draft. It seems to me they badly need a plug-and-play OL, either at guard or tackle. That’s their conceivably their biggest position of need, considering Vollmer’s sketchy health, Solder’s concussion issues, not to mention the loss of Dante Scharnecchia as the greatest of OL coaches. Although, TE is arguably a bigger need since they made it through last year with the current OL. Then again, I would really love to see a baddass pass rusher to rotate in on 3rd down and get after the QB.

    i had considered the Pat’s offseason last year to be awful, and still do, in terms of FA. But – they pulled off a coup in the draft, landing four contributors (Jamie Collins No. 52 overall, cornerback Logan Ryan No. 83 overall and wide receiver Josh Boyce No. 102 overall, and they traded the No. 229 pick, plus running back Jeff Demps, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for LeGarrette Blount) in exchange for Cordelle Patterson. Of those four, two are probable starters (Collins, Ryan), Blount contributed, and Boyce, the jury is still out on. I would take Collins over Patterson right, and I think Ryan had a very nice rookie season, with six picks and looks like a legit starter.

    So, what I’m getting at is, yeah, trade down again! Its supposed to be a deep draft. Get some more depth going on at DE/OL/TE. One or more of those guys can maybe start contributing, a la Collins, by the time the Pats hit the playoffs (I’m assuming they do!)

    • acm says:

      trading down isn’t something one can simply automatically assume can or would happen. How the Pats go about it would depend on what players are available at that 29th pick but above all what trade offers they’d have on the table. This is a deep draft and it’s natural to want to trade down but that draft is just as deep for many/most other teams and thus they’d be less willing to trade up. In fact, a favorable trade like the one win Minny last year is very, very unlikely to happen as late-ish picks *3rd and later rounds) carry a considerably higher value in a deep draft.
      So, one cannot just take for granted that the circumstances favoring a trade-down would be there.

      As for being covered at RB, imagine this very likely scenario – Ridley fumbles in the 1st/2nd game of the season, which at this point is a more likely to happen than not. What do you think happens to the perceived depth at RB as a result considering there is a really good chance he gets released/traded, canned for the next 5-8 games or at the very least his confidence is shot dead? Most likely outcome of this quite likely scenario is that the Pats O moves away from running the ball, becomes 1-dimensional as in previous years and gets stuffed in the play-offs.

      • Jack says:

        Obviously, they shouldn’t make the deal unless they’re getting appropriate value in return. But when you see how teams fall in love with players in the the first round and how it makes them susceptible to surrendering a boatload of picks to get there, it makes you hope they can find someone to make a deal with. In fact, I believe the Tavon Wilson debacle was a result of the Pats not being able to find a willing partner as they were desperately trying to trade down. They seemingly panicked by badly reaching for the top-rated player on their board at a position of need, rather than choosing from a plethora of more talented players available at that point. Awful pick. But, you have to take the good with the bad with BB.

        When I say “covered” at RB, that doesn’t mean they have depth there – probably I should have said they have the bare minimum, especially when you consider the two RBs are both FAs next year. In addition, the Pats need more depth at LB and DL. But, RBs are one area where they probably don’t want to invest too much capital, considering the short life-span of the career of a typical RB as well as how dependent their performances are on the OL blocking well (see Blount against Denver) and the fact that it’s a passing league as well. That’s probably why the let Blount walk, same for BJGE. Every position is important, of course. They need to draft an RB in some round, or at least grab some UDFAs and/or FAs and hope somebody can beat out Bolden.

    • steve earle says:

      Welcome to the conversation Jack, I enjoyed you post you got most of it right by my thinking I’d only saywhen you mentioned plug and play OG and OT I’d say OC and OG. Not a fan of Windell and Connelly is serviceable but can be improved upon. A swing OT would be nice but I can’t see him as a high priority.

      • Jack says:

        Hello Steve, thanks for the comments. You’re probably right – apparently Wendell had a down year last year. The Pats have to figure out if he’s going to bounce back, or whether he was just finding his level. Canon provides security at tackle/guard, so that does give them the flexibility to go for an interior OL.

  7. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Predictions

    Free Agents
    Robert Ayers DE Denver

    Draft
    1 Zach Martin OL Notre Dame
    2 Deone Bucannon SS Washington State
    3 Chris Smith DE Arkansas
    4 Taylor Hart DL Oregon
    4 Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
    6 Storm Johnson RB Central Florida
    6 L’Damian Wahington WR Missouri
    7 Ryan Hewitt FB Stanford

    Glad Wilfork and Wendell are back!

  8. Daniel R. Martin says:

    As a replacement of Blount and in preparation for the void that may be created at the RB position next year, with the potential departure of Vereen, Ridley and Bolden, I suggest James Wilder jr. be drafted in the 6th round. If not, Lache Seastrunk in the 4th.

    • steve earle says:

      Another RB you might consider is Jerick McKinnon , Geo So. Kid lit up the combine and is being projected as 4th rd’er now. Largely unknown before this was projected as 7th or FA. He was a wishbone QB (threw about 12 passes completed 3) but can run to daylight, good speed 4.5 I think. Read he benched something like 28 reps. Someone to consider?

      • jim r says:

        The Crow is the way to go

        • acm says:

          quite a few people are high on this guy, probably from a value stand-point more than anything else but I have to disagree on him being a good fit even in the late rounds. He does seem to have a nose for the seams but is a straight-line, down-the-seam runner and isn’t very apt at changing direction, isn’t a sudden breaker and can’t seem to force/create his own holes. These weaknesses may have been masked by the inferior opposition he’s faced at the college level but will likely prove decisive in how he fairs in the NFL.
          Add to that the character and off-field issues and I honestly doubt the Pats would or should be lining up for him even in the 6th/7th round.

        • carlos strada says:

          thats it, bring the crow on!!

  9. Daniel R. Martin says:

    Not feeling particularly excited about letting Blount walk. Nor am I feeling necessarily enthused about retaining Wilfork. I certainly hope that most of that 8 million dollar per year price tag is heavily performance / incentive laden. Perhaps a smart football mind than me can explain how much cap savings the restructuring of Wilfork’s contract will provide.

  10. J H TARBORO says:

    Geogia Tech pro day DE/LB Jeremiah Attouchu stole the show!!!

  11. Matt says:

    Blount signs with Pitt. This is a mistake by the Pats, I have no faith in Ridley. I guess they will draft a RB.

    • Ryan says:

      Don’t forget Andre Brown, Justin Forsett, and Michael Bush are all still free agents. One of them could easily land with the Pats and I favor a vet over a rookie for the void left by Blount.

      • acm says:

        I like Brown the best – limited mileage on him and showed up well over the past two seasons; injuries are a concern though but as part of a committee, I guess he would do at the right price.
        Either way, even if one of those guys is signed, I doubt he would be seen as a guarantee to make it thru training camp, so drafting a RB would still be very likely, imo. Considering Ridley’s situation and that basically all of the current RBs are on a last contract year, wouldn’t be shocked if they go Rb as early as the 3rd round.

    • acm says:

      Drafting a RB was always a “hidden” need, imo, even with Blount coming back. It looked like a well covered area on the surface but the devil’s in the details. I had a discussion here with someone on this not long ago.
      Anyways, I was hoping they would bring back Blount for the right money but wouldn’t go as far as sounding off the alarm for him. He was a solid player, who came on very strong late last season vs defenses that were especially bad at stopping the run at the time (Bills and Colts). Pretty decent, solid player but not irreplaceable.

      • jim r says:

        It appears as though the running back position is viewed as TE was 10 years ago. Interchangeable, so if you draft a RB in the 3rd/4th round will he be that much of an up grade from a UDFA.

        • acm says:

          because of the RB situation – no sure fire vets available now, all of the current RBs being on last year of rookie deal and Ridley being one fumble away from getting canned for good – this may well be the year the Pats look to repeat what they did with the RB position in 2011; that is invest in a young, talented player and groom him to give them continuity at the position for the next several years. You aren’t very likely to find that in an UDFA. Not impossible, but not very likely either. UDFA is fine to look for players that may supplement the “committee approach” by yielding the “moving” pieces but you still need a center-piece or two.

          Considering they like to give their rookie RBs more of a red-shirt first season, with Blount not coming back, I’d fully expect a RB to be drafted as early as 3rd or 4th round, depending on the right player being on board, of course. That’s at least what I expect regarding a power RB; some pretty good change of pace backs should be available in the 6th/7th rounds, I think.

        • steve earle says:

          Very possable a mid rd’er invested in a RB. Lets not forget after the draft and before season starts many vet RB’s will descover the joys of FA’cy. As acm suggests lots of interchanability with commity approach.

  12. J H TARBORO says:

    Breaking news DeSean Jackson just released by the Eagles.

  13. Jim R says:

    All the mock drafts change now….I do not see an immediate need for an interior d lineman now. You can get a big boy later in draft, udfa or next year. 8 picks I would like
    2-OL
    2-TE
    1-DE
    1-OLB
    1-SS
    1-DT

    • Matt says:

      Instead of drafting a DT and a DE they could draft a player that can play both. Then they could use a pick for position like WR or Rb for example.

    • Ryan says:

      I have to disagree with you because Wilfork is coming off an injury, Armstead is a ? and Kelly can’t play every down. Maybe it’s a second or third round priority now, but I still think another disruptive guy in the interior of the line could do wonders for a pass rush. That being said, I do like the fourth and fifth round options like Caraun Reid, George Uko and Jay Bromley, and if the Patriots filled other needs while grabbing them late I would have no issues.

      • acm says:

        agree, there are still quite a few question marks regarding the DL. Wilfork will likely take his time to come back to full strength and even then, at 33 he will likely see relatively limited snaps more in the role of a situational run stuffer than anything else. That contract of his is probably laden with incentives.

        My guess is DT will no longer be a priority in the 1st round, though. I still like Daquan Jones and Caraun Reid the best. Jones is good vs the run but also provides athleticism and interior rush, which the Pats badly need now, while Reid is imo a better version of Chris Jones.

        • steve earle says:

          I agree with your assesment here acm. I have also liked DaQuan Jones right along but now feel he may need to be taken with our #61 if we want a DT. About Caraun Jones, where do you see his value, where should he be taken?

        • steve earle says:

          Oops! I mean caraun Reid!!!!

        • acm says:

          Don’t think D. Jones would be there for the Pat’s own 2nd rounder, tbh. His stock seems to be on the up and he’s much too unique of a DT (like Linval Joseph in free agency) in the draft. I have a bit of a hard time seeing him drop out of the top 50-55 picks.

          Caraun Reid’s draft stock reminds a bit of how things went for Brandon Williams and Akeem Spence last year, so I’d guess late 3rd, early-ish 4th round. If they get D. Jones or another DT earlier, then they probably won’t even look at Reid. If they haven’t gotten a DT by late 3rd, however, that’s where I think they’d have to look at him. Don’t think he drops to Pat’s own pick in the 4th.

  14. Ryan says:

    This guy reminds me of Da’Quan Bowers and his situation. Clear-cut first round talent, but major injury questions that will surely alter his value on draft day. Bowers was being considered for the No. 1 pick but fell 50 places to Tampa Bay. If Belicheck didn’t feel ready to draft a guy with top-5 talent who feel to him because of injury concerns, will he so much as glance at Easley? Belicheck feels that hitting on first rounders is very important, so I really doubt that this guy would be in play for our first pick. In the second round he takes many more risk players, however, so it would not surprise me too much to see Easley being chosen by the Patriots with their later pick. However, it is quite possible he will be gone before pick 61.

  15. Dan Sullivan says:

    Vince’s deal is cap friendly to the Pats they went from 4 million under cap to 8 million
    under cap now they can buy a nice free agent lineman either offensive or defensive lineman.
    They are moving fast I think Robert Ayers would be a solid addition and give flexibility in draft.

  16. J H TARBORO says:

    Glad Big Vince is still a Patriot!

  17. Dan Sullivan says:

    Glad he is back! Vince is Boston Strong. Vince money doesn’t by Happiness.

    Free Agents
    Robert Ayers DE Broncos
    Eben Britton G Bears
    Paris Lenon LB Denver
    Danario Alexander WR Chargers

    Draft
    1 DeMarcus Lawrence DE Boise St.
    2 Kelcy Quarles DL South Carolina
    3 Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
    4 Cameron Fleming OT Stanford
    4 Jeremy Hill RB LSU
    6 Uani Unga ILB BYU
    6 Mason Walters G Texas
    7 Tanner Miller S Iowa

  18. Trev says:

    We don’t need to spend a high pick on an injury risk.. We already did that with Ras-I Dowling. Didn’t work out so good.

  19. Bill Vermont says:

    Twice fooled, shame on me. He cannot be so much better than anybody else that you need to take a chance on him. Or if he’s the guy everyone remembers.

  20. steve earle says:

    Right, but it makes no sense to take an injury prone DT high does it? For those who believe it won’t happen again please contact me about a bridge I wish to sell.

    • Matt says:

      And they arrest isn’t a big deal? The Pats wouldn’t sign Britt.

      • GM-In-Training says:

        What’s your take on Robert Kraft categorically saying they wouldn’t hire Kenny Britt?
        They knew about Britt’s off-field issues before they had him in for a visit, unless he confessed to even worse stuff, that seems weird.
        It could be they decided Britt wasn’t smart enough to learn their playbook.
        Britt said something about the Patriots not being as regimented as he thought they would be…maybe they interpreted that as he just doesn’t get the discipline required to be a Patriot.

        Dunno. Whaddy’all think?

        • Matt says:

          He does have off field problems do you know what they are? And his statement about the Pats not being as regimented as he thought is a strange thing to say. Maybe an assist coach invited him in and Kraft heard about this and told the coaching staff to back off this guy. Very odd all around.

        • Bill Vermont says:

          Must be the Patriots see a difference in “good guys” who have bad things happen them, and guys who are “bad”. That’s a fine line and you have to be aware of it. It may be the difference between Dennard and Bowner, vs Hernandez. Kraft can’t face another Hernandez type, but Dennard was just “immature” and careless. I’m not clear on Browner, but I think he got busted for using Adderall, is that right? That’s been pretty common the last 3-4 years.

          Anyway, Britt is having trouble finding work, so he must be a great interview, because he’s has shown talent. Some guys just don’t get it !






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