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With the 29th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Dominique Easley. Easley is an immense talent who’s draft stock slipped beacause of two ACL injuries in college. All reports indicate that he is healthy and will be ready to go to start the season.
Some scouts have compared Easley to Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Like Atkins, Easley is explosive off the ball, and is a potent inside rusher from the three-technique. If his health checks out during training camp, it wouldn’t be a stretch to project Easley in the starting lineup on opening day next to Vince Wilfork.
While the health concerns are real, Easley was simply too tempting to pass up on. Bill Belichick was VERY high on Easley, and history of drafting defensive linemen in the first round is remarkable. The round has produced Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and Chandler Jones during the Belichick era. If Easley can stay healthy, he’s going to be a beast on the defensive line for years to come.
Rounds two and three of the draft will take place this evening, and the Patriots have a pick in each round. Today will likely be a day that we’ll see the Patriots be aggressive on the trade front. Rumors about Ryan Mallett possibly being traded to Houston are only going to intensify after the Vikings jumped the Texans to select Teddy Bridgewater.
Look for the Patriots to absolutely draft a tight end today. Only one was selected in the first round, and they should have plenty of options in the second round, and may even be in play to trade up for one.
Quarterback is another position that could be addressed today (especially if a Mallett trade happens). Someone like AJ McCarron could be an option in the third round.
Interior offensive line is another position to watch out for. If Weston Richburg from Colorado State is available with the 62nd pick, look for his name to be called by the Patriots.