Thursday, May 1, 2014
Rams prospect profile: Dominique Easley
By Nick Wagoner
The 2014 NFL draft is seven days away. Before we get there, we'll take a look at some prospects in the who could be of interest to the St. Louis Rams.
By now, we've covered most of the big names so the focus here will be on vetting some potential additions beyond the top 10 of the draft.
Position: Defensive tackle
School: University of Florida
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1 3/4, 288 pounds
Projected round: 2 or 3
Pros: Incredibly explosive off the snap with a relentless motor, Easley plays all out all the time. He pursues the run from the backside with reckless abandon and has outstanding get off at the snap. Easley is able to generate consistent pressure and penetrates gaps with relative ease. He has quick, violent hands which help him disengage from blockers. After some early maturity questions, he developed into a leader and a team captain in his final season. Easley combines elite ability with an elite motor to make him the ideal three-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense.
Cons: The biggest red flag here has nothing to do with his play but injury history. He tore his right ACL in 2013 and his left one in 2011. He also missed some time in 2012 though he mostly managed to stay on the field that season with a few exceptions. His hand size and arm length are below average for his position. Easley also has a tendency to miss tackles he should make even after moving quickly to put himself in position to make the play. It is hard to pick apart much of his game but durability clearly is the main concern.
Fit with Rams: The Rams have made it abundantly clear they want to upgrade their depth and rotation at defensive tackle and the one thing lacking from that mix is a pass-rushing type who can play the three technique. Assuming the Rams don't surprise and take someone like Pitt's Aaron Donald in the first round, Easley would make sense in the middle rounds. St. Louis has a solid duo with Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers starting and signed Alex Carrington in free agency but Carrington only signed a one-year deal and Langford has just two years left on his contract. The Rams reportedly brought Easley in for a pre-draft visit so they have at least some interest in drafting him. So long as they're comfortable with his medical status, Easley could turn out to be a real bargain by bringing first-round talent at mid-round prices.
He said it: Easley on never watching much football despite playing the sport -- "Just because you're not watching football doesn't mean you don't love football," Easley said at the combine. "I have another life also."