Patriots ink DT Dominique Easley to rookie deal

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.

Continue Reading » Patriots ink DT Dominique Easley to rookie deal

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Patriots ink G Jon Halapio to rookie contract

Round 6 – No. 179
Jon Halapio, G
New England Patriots


Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 323 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Redshirt senior

Florida Gators guard Jon Halapio officially became a member of the New England Patriots on Monday, signing a four-year, $2.34 million rookie contract with the team.

The No. 179 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Halapio is a solid, high-intensity lineman who is known as an excellent run blocker but player that needs to improve in pass protection. He played 51 games and made 43 starts during his career with the Gators, starting at right guard for the last seven games of 2010, all of 2011 and 2012, and the final 10 games of 2013 after missing the first two while recovering from a torn pectoral.

OnlyGators.com learned the details of Halapio’s contract on Thursday. He will earn $450,775 as a rookie in 2014, including a $420,000 base salary and one-quarter of his $123,100 signing bonus, which will be paid out over the duration of his contract. His annual average salary is $585,775, and his deal maxes out at $720,775 in 2017.

“[I’m going to] just come in there and do what is asked of me from the coaches and contribute. Whether it is to be a backup or whatever my role may be, my mindset is to come up there and just start from the bottom and work hard every day and contribute to team success,” Halapio said after being drafted.

The first Florida offensive lineman drafted since 2011 and 13th former Gators player selected by the Patriots, Halapio joins first-round defensive tackle Dominique Easley on the team. New England has selected multiple Florida players in the draft three times, picking two in 2006 (Chad Jackson, Jeremy Mincey) and three in 2010 (Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez).

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FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Pouncey, Colbert

1 » Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jaylen Watkins and New England Patriots guard Jon Halapio, both third-day selections in the 2014 NFL Draft, signed rookie contracts with their respective teams on Monday. There is already talk that Watkins may be able to push for a starting cornerback job at some point this season, though Philadelphia’s plan right now is to work him out at corner, nickel and safety in order to figure out how he can contribute the most from the get-go. Halapio is expected to start out as a reserve in New England, which is trying to strengthen its offensive line this offseason. OnlyGators.com will post full stories on each signing once it is able to obtain the detailed contract information for the players.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Pouncey, Colbert

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FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Powell, Horford

1 » Teams understandably praise the players they draft, but Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly went above and beyond simply sharing the standard compliments when discussing Florida Gators cornerback Jaylen Watkins, his fourth-round pick, after making the selection. “Extremely high football intelligence,” he said of Watkins. “He has the speed to play corner, but sometimes when you’re drafting guys, you’re trying to project that maybe he can be this. Obviously, there is evidence of him playing safety and doing it at a really high level. He could be the quarterback of the defense because of his football intelligence, and we just thought that versatility and that football intelligence and character part of it, we thought it was a really good value, especially [on day three]. He’s one of those guys that we were really excited about [Friday] night, where if we didn’t get a great offer then we were going to stay right there and take Jaylen [with the first pick of the fourth round].” Watkins will start out at cornerback for the Eagles, according to general manager Howie Roseman (a Florida alumnus), but could play safety down the road as he develops and potentially adds more weight to his frame.

2 » The New England Patriots jumped at the opportunity to draft Gators guard Jon Halapio in the sixth round on Saturday with head coach Bill Bellichick “a little surprised to see him where he was” still available that late in the draft. While Halapio should make the team and could eventually develop into a starter in New England, he will also help the team’s first-round pick, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, with his transition to the NFL. “It’s good to have people [here] I’ve been around four years in college,” Easley said in his team press conference. “It makes it real comfortable.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Powell, Horford

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Florida junior CBs Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy lead list of undrafted Gators

Anywhere from six to eight Florida Gators were expected to be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but the event came Thursday and ended Saturday with only four being picked up by professional teams out of 256 slots.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley (first round, No. 29, New England), cornerback Jaylen Watkins (fourth round, No. 101, Philadelphia), linebacker Ronald Powell (fifth round, No. 169, New Orleans) and guard Jon Halapio (sixth around, No. 179, New England) were all picked, but other Gators were not as lucky.

Junior CBs Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy, early entrants who were both projected as first-round picks by numerous draft analysts before the 2013 season, went undrafted during the three-day event.

Roberson’s injuries were likely the greatest deterrent to teams selecting him, though low testing numbers at the NFL Combine, a lackluster Pro Day and some off-field concerns also affected his draftability.

Purifoy did not progress as scouts hoped in terms of his coverage ability and overall play at cornerback during his junior campaign. Poor testing numbers and numerous off-field issues, including a run-in with the law for possession of marijuana and bath salts just two months before the draft, likely forced teams to bail on picking him up.

Continue Reading » Florida junior CBs Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy lead list of undrafted Gators

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New England nabs Florida G Jon Halapio with No. 179 pick in sixth round of 2014 NFL Draft

Round 6 – No. 179
Jon Halapio, G
New England Patriots


Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 323 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Redshirt senior

The New England Patriots went back to their Gainesville, Florida, well on Saturday, adding a former Florida Gators player for the second time in three days (and fifth time in five years) by selecting guard Jon Halapio with the No. 179 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

A solid high-intensity lineman who entered the 2013 season projected as a second-day selection, Halapio was unable to play up to his full potential due to a torn pectoral that severely hampered his movement and effectiveness. He is known as a tough and excellent run blocker who needs to improve in pass protection.

Halapio played 51 games and made 43 starts for during his career with the Gators, starting at right guard for the last seven games of 2010, all of 2011 and 2012, and the final 10 games of 2013 after missing the first two due to his pectoral injury.

He will begin his career as a reserve with the Patriots but could quickly develop into an NFL starter as his strength returns and technique improves.

Halapio is the first UF offensive lineman drafted since 2011 and 13th former Florida player selected by New England, joining first-round defensive tackle Dominique Easley in the team’s 2014 draft class.

The Patriots have selected multiple Gators in the draft three times, drafting two in 2006 (Chad Jackson, Jeremy Mincey) and three in 2010 (Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez).


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Florida Gators 2014 NFL Draft viewer’s guide

OGGOA LIVE COVERAGE – May 8-10 – Florida Gators in the 2014 NFL Draft

Former Florida Gators are expected to come off the board throughout the three-day 2014 NFL Draft with the team assured of having at least six players drafted.

As fans of the 32 NFL teams look on nationwide, those supporting the Gators are just as excited to see where the players they used to watch on Saturdays will be playing on Sundays in the fall.

The fact of the matter is that few things are certain when it comes to the NFL Draft. Trades can occur at any moment and each team views its most pressing needs and what each player on its board brings to the table differently than analysts do. Rather than try to mock the draft, predict the unknown variables and tell you what could happen, OnlyGators.com is here to set your expectations for what should go down.

» Florida will not see a player drafted in the first round for the second time in the last three seasons and fifth time this century.

The Gators only have one legitimate shot to see their total of 45 first-round picks increase during this draft and that is with defensive tackle Dominique Easley. A talent deserving of being selected in the top 15 picks, Easley’s multiple knee injuries – coupled with the fact that he is still recovering from one suffered in October – make him a risky choice at the top half of the first round or on the first day altogether. Should a team be enamored with Easley and believe him to be a must-draft talent on Thursday, he would be the second UF defensive lineman chosen in the first round since 2008, and it would be the second time in school history that a defensive lineman was picked in the first round of back-to-back drafts (2007-08).

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2014 NFL Draft viewer’s guide

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Evaluating Florida Gators ahead of 2014 NFL Draft

Despite being incredibly busy during the week of the 2014 NFL Draft, longtime analyst Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net sat down with OnlyGators.com on Tuesday afternoon for a wide-ranging look at the Florida Gators who could be selected Thursday-Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York, New York.

Pauline evaluated all 11 Florida players available in the draft and even provided projections for each prospect including those who may neither be selected May 8-10 nor signed after the festivities are over.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley
Projection: Round 2
Analysis: “Easley, if he didn’t have the knee injury, he probably slides into round one. He’s a quick, explosive three-technique lineman who brings some inside pass rush. That’s becoming more and more valuable these days. The way it is, even with the knee injury, I think he’s going to slide into that second day of the draft and has a definite shot of going in the second round.”

Continue Reading » Evaluating Florida Gators ahead of 2014 NFL Draft

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