Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots' first round selection of Dominique Easley has been met with criticism from some fans, especially on the Twittersphere. Even though 86% of our educated PatsPulpit.com readers gave the pick at least a C-grade (62% gave it an A or B), there still appears to be a large chunk of the fan base calling this, "another stupid Belichick pick."
Are these the same exact people whining about Belichick not (ever) having a high impact defensive player that can single-handedly take over a game? You know, one of those players like J.J. Watt or Von Miller? Do they just hear "two torn ACLs" and think this is Ras-I Dowling all over again with a constantly injured player?
I think this is exactly the case, because Dominique Easley is the player that could potentially make a star impact, but of course, he comes with some risks. What did you expect at the 29th pick, a guaranteed stud? Be serious.
Easley might tear his ACL again on the first day of training camp and never play a down for the Patriots, or maybe he'll never get injured again, have a Hall of Fame career, win three Super Bowls even before Tom Brady retires, and then steal Gisele away because he's so friggin' amazing.
You can't predict the future, my friends, but you can certainly look at what has been, what you have now, and what you can potentially have in the future.
"So, at 6-foot-2 and 288-pounds, how does Dominique Easley even fit on the Patriots? Can he play nearly every position on the defensive line?"
"That means he can play the three-technique and the one-technique on the line?"
Yup, and defensive end too.
"Could he potentially replace Vince Wilfork?"
Easley is a different type of player, but he has the wide frame that could support additional weight. There is a possibility, though his skillset is different.
"Could he play opposite of Chandler Jones?"
Yes, or right alongside him.
"When healthy, is he the type of disruptive player that can impact the running game?"
"What about the passing game?"
Yes, that too, which is just another reason why he's such an amazing player when healthy. The University of Florida product certainly comes with some risks, but his upside is undeniable.
Dominique Easley easily would've been a top 10 selection, maybe even top five, had he never torn his ACLs. When you get a player like that at the 29th pick, it's something I'd consider a potential steal.
In a draft with loads of talent deep into the third round, the Patriots will have plenty of time to find safer players than Easily. They knew that wouldn't be able to find someone like Easily later in the draft, so they took him when they had the chance.
Can you really knock Bill Belichick for taking a risk on a defensive lineman that could pan out to be type of disruptive player he's been searching for? If you do, I think you're being a little ridiculous, because no player at that point of the draft offered the type of upside Dominique Easley does.
And maybe, the New England Patriots finally found a player that can consistently make a quarterback regret suiting up on Sundays.