Former Patriots 1st-round pick Dominique Easley is working out today for LA Rams, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 17, 2016
The Patriots released Easley after just two seasons citing some underlying injury concerns and a variety of off-field concerns, many of which related to the injury concerns themselves.
Beyond the cap implications, Easley was a good player in 2015, trailing only J.J. Watt in pass rushing productivity per Pro Football Focus, and was the #1 most effective interior rusher. Cutting an elite player before their third season in the NFL is unexpected, to say the least.
The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe says that the Patriots had concerns with Dominique Easley's knees and that there is "not a lot of room for improvement" on that front. CSNNE's Tom Curran says there were "philosophical difference on following injury programs." CBS's Jason La Canfora says the Patriots have off the field concerns with Easley that led to the release. NFL Insider Aaron Wilson reports that Easley is facing a lawsuit after his dog allegedly bit someone.
If the recently uncovered stories about Easley are true, and he hid injuries prior to the draft, didn't work with the team on his many recoveries, and missed scheduled appointments, then Easley is at fault for not developing while in the NFL.
But these sorts of decisions root from traits that should have been uncovered during the scouting process. Does Easley respond well to coaching? Is he a team player? Is he passionate about football?One ESPN report on the Florida Gators found a big flag on Easley.
"One coach on the staff said the 2010 class was the most unruly he has ever witnessed," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler wrote. "Another player viewed by some as problematic was Dominique Easley, a five-star defensive lineman from New York who threatened to quit the team repeatedly, missing meetings as a result."
Bill Belichick is close with then-head coach Urban Meyer, who helped the Patriots draft Florida bust after Florida bust, and this sort of behavior should have been well understood prior to taking Easley in the 1st round.Yahoo! Sports found another issue during the predraft process.
Easley was asked if he ever has [watched] an entire NFL game.
"Not start to finish," Easley said. "I might change it to a cartoon or something."
(For the record, he's a big fan of the Rocket Power cartoon for those keeping score at home.)
So wait, you don't watch, like, the Super Bowl? What's the most of an NFL game you've watch, Dominique?
"About two quarters," he said.
Let's be honest. Rams HC Jeff Fisher has no problem taking on players with...concerns like these. And given the off-field issues the Rams are already dealing with this offseason, this isn't anything they're not equipped to address anyway.
The bigger question is one of fit. The Rams are already loaded on the defensive line with their three other first-rounders in DE Robert Quinn, DT Michael Brockers and DT Aaron Donald. Throw in recently re-signed ends William Hayes and Eugene Sims, and a move like this would only serve to strengthen a strength. That alone calls into question its value, but there's also one of overburdening a locker room with too many "personalities"...
Somehow I think that won't be a concern of Fisher's.
Easley finished with 15 tackled and three sacks in his two NFL seasons in New England.