FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Highlights from Monday morning’s traditional photo with the New England Patriots’ top draft choice – defensive lineman Dominique Easley:
Setting the scene. As is the norm, owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft welcomed the top pick on a stage near midfield. The three, dressed in suits and ties, walked out together as photographers snapped pictures, and the constant clicking added to the anticipation of the welcome on a beautiful New England day. Kraft noted Easley’s Staten Island, New York, roots and how it connects him to former Patriot Joe Andruzzi. Kraft also mentioned how Easley was part of the same fraternity at Florida that Kraft himself was part of at Columbia. On the video boards at the stadium read the following message: “2014 New England Patriots Rookie Class – Welcome to Gillette Stadium.” Random aside: We got a kick out of Kraft’s casual footwear.
Detailing the rookie orientation. Easley said he arrived in town Sunday afternoon, and all the rookies had dinner together Sunday evening. On Monday morning, each player underwent a physical and there was a rookies-only meeting with Bill Belichick. Easley said Belichick’s message was that the rookies are far behind and have a lot of work to do.
Will initially wear jersey No. 74. Easley said his locker has the No. 74 jersey in it. He has no connection to the jersey number and said the “name makes the jersey.”
Most comfortable at 288 pounds. Easley is listed at 6-foot-1 3/4 and 288 pounds. He said he’s been most comfortable playing at that weight.
Chucky doll not coming to New England. Easley used to carry a Chucky doll with him to games at Florida. He doesn’t plan to bring it to the NFL. “It was a birthday present from my girlfriend and I just stuck with it. I used to always watch it when I was younger and thought it was funny,” he said.
Checking in on his recovering knee. Asked about how quickly he might be able to take the field, Easley said he’s “real anxious and as of right now, I’m meeting with the trainers and we’re discussing that right now so I don’t really know.” Asked about a target date, he said, “as soon as possible.”
Wearing a gold chain with family ties. Easley wore a thick gold chain around his neck and explained that it includes his 1-year-old son’s name, Dominique II. “He’s not able to be here with me, so I carry him everywhere I go," he said.