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2014 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Rumors: Florida DT Dominique Easley Healthy, Could Regain First-Round Status

Dominique Easley had been viewed as a first-round pick prior to his ACL tear. Now that he’s healthy, he could draw interest from teams in need of defensive line help.

Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley
Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dominique Easley was one of the wildcards in the 2014 NFL Draft. The former Florida standout wreaked havoc during his time in Gainesville, but sustained a knee injury early on during his senior season and was never able to return to the field.

Since then, Easley has been rehabbing the injury, and according to multiple reports, he’s close to being back at 100 percent. Easley has long been viewed as a first-round pick,  prior to the ACL tear of course. But now that he’s healthy, he could draw interest from teams in need of defensive line help, which may be in the first round.

At the Florida Pro Day in mid-April, Easley proclaimed his right knee at 80-85 percent healed. Now, indications are that Easley expects to be able to be ready at some point in training camp this summer,

In the past, injury riddled players with first-round have slipped. Last year, the San Francisco 49ers drafted injured Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine and South Carolina running back in the second and fourth rounds, respectively, and neither played a down.

But because of Easley’s speedy rehab, it would not be a surprise to see him maintain his first-round status.

Via Sports Illustrated:

Both players possessed first-round talent, but because of the injuries that ended their final collegiate seasons, Carradine was available in the second round and Lattimore in the fourth. Neither player played a down for the 49ers in 2013, but them’s the breaks when you take risks on talent with serious injury concerns.

And if that’s the case, it’s entirely possible that Easley’s final landing spot in the draft could be the bottom of the first round. The 49ers, who pick 30th overall, and the Seahawks, who pick 32nd, have shown that they’ll take players who don’t have a high probability of playing in their first seasons.

Both the 49ers and the Seahawks make sense as potential landing spots, as both have enough depth along their defensive lines that could allow Easley to take his time returning to action. And as mentioned earlier, the Niners have not shied away from drafting “redshirt players” in the draft before.

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