If you’re looking for a story of perseverance, look no further than Los Angeles Rams DE Dominique Easley.
Easley is a highly explosive and highly talented defensive lineman who has suffered three torn ACL’s dating back to college the last of which he injured last year in training camp. Nevertheless, he has consistently undergone rehabilitation effectively to return as a productive player. Originally a first-round pick with the 29th overall selection by the New England Patriots in the 2014 NFL Draft, he was released in 2016. Easley had a strong rebound season in 2016 after being picked up by the Rams registering 3.5 sacks, 24 tackles, one pass deflection and two forced fumbles as a rotational backup to Aaron Donald.
Easley re-signed with the Rams for a one-year $850k deal back in March. It’s a deal that made sense for both sides; the Rams return a key player off the bench who can provide juice but doesn’t need to be relied on to play major snaps, and Easley gets a chance to rehab his value with a strong performance before reaching free agency again at only 27-years old.
Starting reps won’t be available for Easley this year with the starting three firmly entrenched in Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers. The good news for Easley is he can be a “super-sub” off the bench as a highly-energetic player who can wreak havoc on overworked offensive lineman late in games.
Easley will battle with Ethan Westbrooks (roster preview), Tanzel Smart, Chunky Clements (roster preview) and rookies John Franklin-Myers (roster preview), and Sebastian Joseph-Day (roster preview) for a roster spot. EDGE Morgan Fox was another player primed for playing time though a torn ACL just recently ended his season before it began.
Though playing time might not be as available as it used to be, I fully expect Easley to make an impact on the defense so long as his health permits it. I do not think it’s out of the realm of possibility for Easley to re-create his 2017 season (24 tackles, 3.5 sacks) as a backup to Aaron Donald.
As everyone knows, a heavily rotated defensive line is one that can cause issues for offenses from the first snap to the last, and that’s where a player like Easley will make his hay.
Chances of Making Final Roster (7/10)
If Easley is healthy he should make the 53-man roster.