Round 1 – No. 29
Dominique Easley, DT
New England Patriots
Height: 6’2″ – Weight: 288 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Senior
One of the final first-round selections to come to terms with his team, Florida Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley officially became a member of the New England Patriots on Monday by signing a four-year, $7.3 million contract.
The No. 29 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Easley likely would have been selected earlier had it not been for injury concerns stemming from two torn ACLs suffered in college.
It is because of these injuries that Easley and the Patriots took a while to get a deal done. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, the two sides were haggling over injury language in the contract. As it turns out, Easley will receive a $3.6 million signing bonus with 80 percent of his contract ($5.9 million) guaranteed, according to Volin.
Easley, a quick and explosive three-technique lineman who possesses a lightning-fast first step and terrific inside pass rush skills, was the second Florida defensive tackle to be drafted in the first round in as many seasons after DT Sharrif Floyd was picked six spots earlier at No. 23 overall by Minnesota in 2013.
A starter at UF for three seasons, he was the first Gators player selected by the Patriots since the team took three players in 2010 and will be able to show his relentlessness and versatility from the get-go. Easley compiled 72 total tackles (18 for loss) and 5.5 sacks in 32 games with 26 starts at Florida.
He participated in his first NFL activities in New England’s final organized team activity of the offseason, doing positional drills and light work on the field. Easley is expected to be 100 percent healthy and fully cleared at some point during training camp.
Easley was the 11th UF player to be drafted in the first round in the last eight years and 46th in school history dating back to 1936. He will be one of two Gators on the Patriots’ roster, joining sixth-round offensive lineman Jon Halapio. The team has picked 10 Florida players in the last 16 drafts dating back to 1999.