2014 NFL Draft: New England Patriots Waste First-Round Pick On Dominique Easley

By Willis Patenaude
New England Patriots Waste First-Round Draft Pick on Dominique Easley
Jake Roth – USA TODAY Sports

Well, for once the New England Patriots didn’t trade away their first-round pick, but considering they drafted Dominique Easley, defensive tackle out of Florida, perhaps they should have.

Bill Belichick seems enamored with Florida Gators players and at this point, someone should be questioning his ability to competently draft because the history of Gators in New England is downright dismal.

Aaron Hernandez is in prison. Brandon Spikes compared his four years in New England to slavery. Jermaine Cunningham was cut after three seasons and the immortal Tim Tebow never made the opening day roster. Now they have Easley, who was a projected second or third-round pick at best. Belichick is so caught up in the hype of his own genius, that he thinks he can outwit the NFL Draft.

The pick was a serious overreach for a defensive player who is more injury prone than Rob Gronkowski. In his college career, Easley injured the ACL in his left knee, sprained his meniscus, and was out for almost the entire 2013 season after he ruptured his right ACL and medial meniscus. So, Belichick’s attempt at improving the defensive line was to draft a player who has had both knees surgically repaired? In what world does that make any kind of sense?

Some will argue that it’s all about the potential. Yeah, so were Darius Butler, Patrick Chung, Jonathan Wilhite, Brandon Meriweather, Laurence Maroney and Taylor Price. I say, forget potential and draft actual talent. The pick is mind baffling and head scratching to the point of causing male pattern baldness. Not only are the injuries a concern, but he doesn’t even fit the Patriots defense schematically. He is undersized and is best suited for an aggressive defense. There is nothing aggressive about a Belichick defense. The Patriots have more of a reactionary defense, with the fabled “bend, but don’t break” scheme that gives fans heart attacks and loses Super Bowls.

Vince Wilfork on Twitter, said he was “lovin this pick.” What’s to love? Easley is damaged goods on par with Lindsay Lohan.

It is hard to imagine what the Patriots were thinking with Louis Nix, Timmy Jernigan, Stephon Tuitt, Kony Ealy and Ra’Shede Hageman — who were all ranked ahead of Easley — still available. Even Marqise Lee or Jace Amaro made more sense than Easley.

It seems illogical for anyone two give the Patriots a high grade for drafting a defensive tackle with serious knee injuries in his past. Then again, it seems illogical to waste your first round pick on a reach that could turn out to be the Greg Oden of the NFL and never live up to the alleged potential.

So what was it that prompted the Easley pick? Were the Patriots captivated by his explosive speed and pass rushing abilities? I’m sure that will look awesome for the two games he plays. It should be noted that one of his knee injuries was in a non-contact practice drill, which probably means his knees are going to get shredded like a Julian salad if he ever actually gets hit.

Before the draft, I was reading how Belichick is “unpredictable” when it comes to drafting players and I guess that makes for great headlines and gets you labeled a “genius,” but sometimes being unpredictable is nothing more than a sign of ineptitude. I mean, haven’t we seen this movie before? Drafting an injury plagued player pretending the potential benefits outweigh the risk is how the Patriots wasted the 33rd pick in 2011 by drafting Ras-I Dowling.

“In Belichick we Trust” is a constant refrain that surrounds Patriots fans and it’s one they often use to silence critics, but it’s starting to wear thin, as is the love affair with players from Florida who never work out.

Instead of being conventional, they decided to get clever and have outsmarted themselves, because drafting Easley is an unjustifiable gamble and it’s one the Patriots didn’t need to take.


Willis Patenaude is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter@WillisPatenaude, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


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