Saturday notes: Thoughts on Dominique Easley

April 18th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Easley would be a top-25 pick without the injuries. Like Sheldon Richardson a year ago, he has everything you want in a three technique — a pissed off with the world attitude, the ability to win with speed, technique or power and he holds his own against the run despite a lack of size.

Even when he doesn’t shoot into the backfield with initial burst — he has the ability to push the guard back into the pocket and impact the quarterback. He gets across the sideline to stretch out run plays and he plays with constant energy despite playing a high number of snaps for a defensive lineman.

It was devastating when he picked up his second ACL injury in Septemer. Devastating for the player, but also for fans of college football who didn’t get to see Easley build on a fantastic start to the season. He was sensational in the first three games and couldn’t be blocked.

Don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself. Keep an eye on #2:

It won’t shock me if a good team — and that includes Seattle of course — takes a chance on Easley early in this draft. Earlier than we think. You’d have to be pretty confident about the way his knee is healing and you’d draft him knowing the risk involved. Big men with bad knees isn’t usually a winning combination.

Yet the opportunity to get a player of Easley’s quality outside of the top-20 is rare. Very rare.

Tank Carradine was the #40 pick in the draft last year and was essentially redshirted by San Francisco after suffering a similar ACL injury. Easley is a lot better than Carradine in my opinion.

I can’t find any information that says USC and Pete Carroll recruited Easley, who was a 5-star player and part of Florida’s impressive 2010 class. He took a visit to Oregon in December 2009 and also received interest from UCLA. Sharrif Floyd was another 5-star recruit from the same class and he did garner interest from Carroll and the Trojans.

Even so, that doesn’t mean anything in terms of the draft. If Tony Pauline is reporting he could go in round two — Seattle might only have one chance to draft him.

I still think it’s unlikely they’d make that move at #32 given the way they look for impact players in round one (Okung, Thomas, Carpenter and Irvin all started immediately). Even if Easley’s making a strong recovery — is he going to be ready for training camp? It’ll be ten months of rehab by July.

One positive could be the way he recovered from the last ACL setback. He was still playing at an elite level in college after making a full recovery. Multiple ACL injuries will always be a big red flag. But if you trust he can make a full recovery — would you be willing to roll the dice? After all, Seattle needs depth on the defensive line and Easley is an unbelievable talent when healthy.

The Dan Quinn factor also has to be considered. He’ll know all about Easley having been his defensive coordinator at Florida. He’ll also know about his ability to recover from a serious knee injury and exactly what kind of value and potential he offers as a pro-prospect.

Wednesday’s work out (see below) was a real opportunity to show how healthy he is and whether he’s retained some of that early season spark. Don’t be shocked if he convinced a few teams that he can play in 2014 and get back to his old self. Especially given the dearth of early round talent on the defensive line.

Earlier today Rotoworld’s Evan Silva mocked Easley to the New England Patriots at #29. The Seahawks ended up getting Ra’Shede Hageman as a consequence.

Quick hitters

Center news helps Seattle?

If Richburg makes it into round one, it can only help the Seahawks. According to Draft Tek the teams expected to consider a center in rounds one or two include Denver, Green Bay, New Orleans and San Francisco.

There’s also a chance a team like Jacksonville jumps back into the first round to make a pick like this — after they missed out on Alex Mack.

Seattle won’t be drafting a center in round one, but if Richburg lands with one of the teams picking just before #32 — it pushes a different player closer to the Seahawks.

A sentence to sum up Timmy Jernigan

I spent a bit more time watching Jernigan this week. I don’t want to write a full report because the tape is so strikingly average and underwhelming.

One sentence sums it up:

If Aaron Donald lives in the backfield, Timmy Jernigan lives 2-3 yards in front of the line of scrimmage.

59 Responses to “Saturday notes: Thoughts on Dominique Easley”

  1. Jon says:

    Easley is ridiculous in his get off. I hope his knees prove to be ok in the NFL, as he could be a very fun player to watch. I dont know that I could spend a #1 pick on him but at the same time would not put it past the Seahawks, or a steep trade up in round 2 which would require a 2015 draft pick in all reality. Those comp picks we will get in 15 may allow us to make that type of decision. You cant trade the comp picks but you can give up other picks knowing that you will still be getting more picks in the draft next year.

  2. JC says:

    I can’t see the Seahawks using a high pick on a “red shirt” given the net loss of free agents and the expectation that they will have 3-4 added compensatory picks in 2015, while having only 7 picks this time around.

  3. redzone086 says:

    I don’t see Seattle having first round interest in Easley. That tape wasn’t that good he cant locate the ball to save his life. I’m not saying there isn’t interest but only as a 3rd down specialist or a DE prospect. #7 looked way better in that film identifying the play and being in position to make an impact. Easley started slow there and then darted through gaps but was out of position and backwards too often. Rarely did he try tracking from behind either there wasn’t much hustle after an initial block.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “That tape wasn’t that good he cant locate the ball to save his life.”

      We’ll have to agree to disagree there.

      Any defensive tackle that collapses the pocket as often as Easley is good enough for me.

      • Connor says:

        Easley’s tape looked pretty darn good to me. I actually have him slightly ahead of Aaron Donald talent wise. Obviously the injury history is a bit of a concern. I would have absolutely no problem if the Seahawks took him at 32 even with the injury history I think he is that freaky good. If we were able to get him in the second round I would be pretty surprised and also very excited.

        • Jordan says:

          Yea I certainly didn’t see what you saw redzone, everyone has their own opinion though I don’t know if I would be jumping up and down if we landed him at #32 but I could certainly get on board with it. I would rather have him than most other healthy D line prospects that would probably be there at the end of rd 1 for example Dee Ford and Kony Ealy

        • Michael says:

          Ha ha. Ahead of Donald? Never.

      • Michael says:

        He never caught any back if he was being blocked. Are you kidding me? When did he make a singke tackle where he wasnt standing in front of the running back in that tape?

        • Rob Staton says:

          Tape looks good to me.

          • Michael says:

            Rob, i respect your effort here on this blog but at what point in that video did Easley ever disengage from a blocker to make a play? He just shoots gaps with amazing quickness but absolutely no gap responsibility and most times to get levereage he turns his back to the play and never finds the ball again. This is a third down pass specialist his first year or two while learning to play the dline. I honestly never saw where he ran a play down from behind to make an impact. I dont dislike Easley I dont think he isnt worth making a seahawk. I dont believe that he is worth a first round pick even healthy but the injuries drop him like they did jesse Williams to round 5ish.

            • Rob Staton says:

              Why does he need to disengage from a blocker Michael? This is what I look for in a three technique:

              — The ability to shoot gaps with initial burst and quickness or technique (swim move) to either force the QB to move or make a sack.

              — The ability to push the guard or center back into the pocket, forcing the QB off his spot or to make a rushed decision.

              — Lateral mobility to work down the sideline and stretch out run plays.

              — Stout vs the run — maintaining position and holding the point of attack.

              A lot of what I want to see a three technique do does not involve engaging contact with an offensive lineman, disengaging and then progressing into the backfield. If you’re engaging with an guard or center the chances are the balls out and thrown by the time you’re having an impact. This is about suddenness — the ability to win at the snap with an explosive burst to shoot a gap. The ability to shove your man back into the QB’s lap so he has to move. You need to get the QB moving and that’s when the edge rushers come into play. DT’s don’t stack up tons of sacks usually unless they’re called Geno Atkins. Sheldon Richardson had a terrific rookie year and registered 3.5 sacks. They just need to live in the backfield by whatever means possible — even if that’s just pushing the guard back 2-3 yards.

              For what it’s worth, Easley draws multiple penalties in the Miami game where he engages the offensive lineman and is held — preventing him from making a big play. And there are other examples where he sheds blocks too.

              • Jake says:

                Rob, I’m with you 100% on Easley. I have intentionally avoided getting excited about any 3 or 5 techniques because I don’t really think PC/JS will draft one high after getting Hill and Williams last year, plus re-signing McDaniel this year. I really hope I’m wrong and that Dan Quinn can pound the table hard enough. Injuries are scary, but this guy is a young Michael Bennett in the making. I have no idea what tape a couple of these guys are watching, but Easley is nothing short of EXPLOSIVE in that Florida scheme (which is probably a holdover from Quinn). He must have drawn at least 4 flags for holding – unblockable. If he was drafted specifically for the “McDonald role” (who by the way played more snaps than Bryant, Mebane, or McDaniel), the rest of the league would probably just punt on 3rd down.

              • Michael says:

                I cant help but laugh. He vacates lanes that any draw play or Kapernick will run through for 20 plus yards. Im watching again looking for run plays in his direction and he has zero ability to effect the run game. He is a 3rd down specialist and not a first round pick. His injuries take him to the 5rd. He never holds the point of attack that you mentioned. If he does his back is turned and he never locates the ball.

  4. John says:

    Love everything about Easley. Would love for him to be in Sea but find it highly unlikely given what happened the last time we gambled on a DL with bad knees.

    Agree completely on Jernigan.

    Also, is it just me or is there a lot more news about players we like this year than previous years? Probably because we are champs but it feels we’ve been linked to alot more prospects in the media than in previous years.

  5. Stuart says:

    By now, most of us a are pretty knowledgeable about a player recovering from an ACL injury, BUT TWO, and in college, that puts an athlete in a completely different category.

    Please, someone, name players who have had two ACL injuries, and how they player after that?

    Didn’t Marcus Latimore have two ACL’s? Personally I am cheering for this young man to come back and be great, but it’s hard, since he plays for the 49ers…

    • Rob Staton says:

      Latimore had once ACL and then one of the worst injuries you’ll ever seen on a football field. It’s a wonder he’s been able to continue his football career. That injury against Tennessee was one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen. It was more than just an ACL — his leg was hanging by a thread it seemed. If he comes back and has any kind of career with the 49ers he deserves all the credit in the world.

  6. Stuart says:

    The vast majority of the media doubted the Seahawks right up until kickoff of the Super Bowl.

  7. AlaskaHawk says:

    Seems like we have entered the time of misinformation. Trust nothing brought up in the media regarding who a team likes. Rob you need to do your part and start promoting obscure 7th rounders as being potential first round Seahawks picks. With any luck they will get picked by Denver or San Francisco to steal them from us.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t really see much misinformation here. I don’t think it’s too surprising that a lot of teams attended Easley’s pro day and he is a top-25 talent without the injuries — maybe top-15. So it’s not unrealistic he could go in round two as Pauline suggests. If there are teams willing to take him in round two then maybe one or two teams in the back end of round one consider it too. If you think he can stay injury free, you could end up with one of the best players in the draft at a bargain range.

      I’m not convinced he will go in round one at all but he’s a very interesting player. And even with two knee injuries he’s a lot more appealing in round two than Timmy Jernigan IMO.

  8. ivotuk says:

    Jernigan is very average. I have no idea why people keep putting him in the first round. imaho, he’s 3rd or 4th round.

    I want nothing to do with Easley. Maybe I’m still gunshy after we spent a first rounder on Marcus Tubbs, phenomenal DT, bad knees. If he is having that many problems playing in a college environment, he’s probably not going to last long in the NFL going up against monster linemen.

    Of the players likely to reach 32, I really want to see us get either Stephon Tuitt or Jarvis Landry.

    I won’t be surprised if we trade back either. I could see John giving up our 1st and 2nd for a 2nd and 3rd this year and a 1st or 2nd next year to some team that panics and needs a QB.

  9. Cysco says:

    Not sure I’d be willing to roll the dice with #32, but #64? Sure. Why not.

    It’s Looking pretty good that one 2nd tier WR or Bitonio will be there, or a unexpected fall of someone like Shazier.

    I’d have a tough time passing on a player that has a chance of contributing at a position of need in favor of a giant question mark in Easley.

    If he’s sitting there at #64, grab him and give him the time he needs.

    Could you imagine coming out of the first two rounds with Latimer and Easley? Talk about value.

  10. phil says:

    I wonder if Dominique is related to Kenny Easley?

  11. Steve Nelsen says:

    Seattle and San Francisco are the only two teams who have demonstrated a real willingness to draft players with the intention to red-shirt them for an entire season. San Fran has even used a 2nd round pick on such players but Seattle hasn’t. Using a 2nd round pick on a guy who was a late first-rounder before the injury is not enough of a discount for the injury risk and the lost season to make it a good value. This draft is so deep that you want to maximize value with every pick. I see a fair discount for Easley as being mid-to-late 3rd round so the value for Easley begins in the 4th round.

  12. CC says:

    I like Easley and I could see Seattle taking him in the second if he is still there. Quinn will likely have some scoop on how he’s recovering and I think he’s worth the risk in the 2nd. He’s been on my radar for awhile and I was bummed when he got hurt.

  13. Cameron says:

    Anyone know if the ACL was a re-injury or to the other leg? I read somewhere that tearing an ACL makes the victim at significant risk of tearing the other.

    http://grantland.com/features/derrick-rose-rob-gronkowski-rise-acl-tears/

    This grantland article suggests most ACL tears don’t involve contact, but I am aware of some ACL tears (Willis McGahee’s while at Miami) that do involve contact. Anyone have any idea what caused either of the two sustained tears? That would be useful info as (in my mind) an ACL tear involving contact is largely a product of bad luck (Hello Navarro Bowman) whilst an ACL not involving contact could point to a congenital condition/predisposition towards tears.

    • Ray bones says:

      Different knees. Left knee first then the right.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Both knees have been injured. No re-injury.

      • jfoxbebb says:

        I’ve torn my right ACL twice, both 10+ yrs My left is fine and gives me no problems. Now I’m no athlete but the effect of the surguries was that my right side of my body atrophied in comparison to the left, especially in the legs. Most of the people I’ve met who have had multiple ACL’s end up tearing their ACL graft repair and not just tearing their other healthy knee.

  14. Chris says:

    Rob, if health wasn’t an issue do you like Donald or Easley better?

  15. Ed C. says:

    Funny you posted this Rob. I posted this awhile ago on your mock article.

    I love this site!!! Thanks Rob. We have drafted so well, we don’t NEED anything. That’s the beauty. Our biggest needs are really to prepare for next year. OL/WR/DL. So BA at any of those 3 and SB here we come. If Bitinio falls, take him at 32 and if Latimer/Landry/Moncrief still on the board at 35 trade next years 1 to grab him. Then at 64 grab either an Easley (I know health concerns, but a beast) or Smith and we come away with:

    Bitino (OT)
    Latimer (WR)
    Smith (DE)

    No first next year, but we win the SB again and for salary purposes replaced Okung/Avril/Baldwin

    • SHawn says:

      Blasphemer. There will be no need to replace ADB.

      Although I agree with you about Okung for sure and Avril too unless he takes a team friendly contract ala Bennett. But we need to at least start searching for a LT replacement. Bailey played very well well at LT last preseason, but I see him as locking down a different spot this year.

  16. Cbr1969 says:

    I think we have officially hit the time before the draft where teams start sending out smoke screens. I say this especially after reading numerous articles that state “heavily interested” yahoo sports, nfl.com, espn and some of the other lesser known writers. Teams in my opinion are probably 80 percent set with their draft boards and are making final adjustments. It’s also not uncommon for teams not even to invite players for individual workouts as this would be viewed as tipping their hand. The more i read, the more I think, Seattle probably has a list of 5 guys they want at 32, if they aren’t there, they are going to trade down within the first 10 picks of the second round and pick up a third rounder and maybe another pick.

    • Michael M. says:

      In this draft I think you’d be lucky to get a 4th to move down 7-10 spots from #32.

  17. Alex says:

    Easley in the first just doesn’t make sense. It feels like fighting the board unless there is an even bigger than expected run on OL and especially WR talent. And if that happens, a Shazier or other valuable talent may drop as a result.

    Why force it?

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s only fighting the board based on the injuries. From a talent point of view it’d be a steal. It’ll all come down to how they view his injury situation.

      • Alex says:

        I just have this nightmare of grabbing the next Marcus Tubbs while a ton of legit receiving talent goes everywhere else.

  18. Carl says:

    That play at 3:18… wow. Very exciting player to watch. Great movement with good power. Any DT that can routinely push OL into the backfield towards the QB that often deserves a 1st round shot.

    I don’t care about his ACL, as the treatments for those injuries are so much better now than they used to be. Look at AP. Really, the only thing preventing him from coming back full strength is himself. And he has so much work ethic and fight in him, I’m sure he’ll get there.

    More than happy if we take him at #32.

    Still hoping we trade down a bit into round 2 before making a selection, though. Gotta feed Schneider those mid-to-late round picks.

  19. Saxon says:

    As a Cane fan in Florida I’ve seen Easley a few times. He’s special. A quick twitch athlete that’s hyper-competitive with rare burst and power. He dominates the LOS. Miami’s OL was pretty good this year and yet Easley was unblockable. The recurring injuries are a major red flag for me. I’d pass in R1 but his immense potential would definitely tempt me in R2.

  20. EranUngar says:

    I’ve been watching a lot of WR tapes in the past 2 months.

    Yesterday i watched this 2012 highlights tape of a tall 6.4 receiver with great hands, good speed, great blocking, leadership, and a game that can easily translate to the NFL. To me he looks like a 1st. round pick and i can’t see a Latimer or Bryant etc. i’d rather have.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym_d6Jsvezs

    enjoy.

    • CC says:

      It is very nice to have this guy as an option – no spoiler here – this is a guy who could give our offense some options!

    • Rock says:

      What a great pick. Add in 6-5 Chris Matthews and we are loaded at the WR position. We did lose two OL’s and two DL’s. Those are going to need to be replaced. We have some candidates on the D Line but the O Line depth is looking pretty slim. Schneider likes guys that tilt the field. Evan Silva got it right. Ra’Sheed Hageman is a 6-‘6″ athletic freak that would fill the Red Bryant role better than Red Bryant did. We need to be concerned about stopping the run. After that we will be looking for depth on the O Line. The WR class is so deep, however, that we should be able to find a good talent for the practice squad in the middle rounds.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Can he stay healthy though?

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        That player certainly has a striking injury history

        • EranUngar says:

          He does have an injury riddled history. 2011,2013…seems like he does better on even years like 2012, 2014.

          IMO he is our Crabtree minus the contract cost. I thing he’ll have a good year.

          A more or less healthy Rice and Harvin are a very scary 1,2 punch. Add a Baldwin and Kearse and it does look like a loaded position. Still, with 2015 coming and the medical risks a WR is high on the shopping list and no better year for those then right now.

          I’m just happy we got him.

  21. Christon says:

    I think that this would be like the Walther Thurmond pick. He is up there with Aaron Donald if he didn’t have two ACL injuries in a row but he maybe be worth the risk at #64 if he’s still on the board. Jesse Williams had an epic fall last year because if injury concerns but at some point the cost/benefit is worth the risk. Unless there is someone else they love that falls, this might be like getting two first round picks IF they can keep him on the field.

    • Rock says:

      We are very fortunate to be coming off a Super Bowl appearance where we had to play several extra games and yet we are not rehabing anyone this off season. Okung has a minor foot issue but that is all. If we are going to draft a medical redshirt, I would prefer it be Brandon Thomas. We need upgrades on the O Line.

      • Rob Staton says:

        How does drafting a player who just suffered an ACL injury upgrade the offensive line?

        • Rock says:

          Carpenters contract is up next year just about the time Brandon Thomas would be fully healed.

          • Rob Staton says:

            So you wouldn’t be upgrading the offensive line in 2014 and would be hoping a player returning from an ACL injury could provide an upgrade (and stay healthy) in 2015? For me they need guys who can take the field now if needed. Depth at tackle is a must. They don’t have to address that area early if the options aren’t there at #32, but they need to add healthy players who can compete immediately.

  22. House says:

    Easley is showing people he’s getting back to health at the right time. He is also aiming at being ready for OTAs. The difference with Jesse Williams was his knees were in need of repair and he showed toughness playing through.

    I see a very LOW chance he is available @ #64, could we take him @ #32?

  23. pqlqi says:

    sounds like ACL+meniscus last september. Players can clearly make full recovery and not have decreased longevity, but when there is a meniscal injury, altered mechanics lead to accelerated degeneration – the degree of acceleration varies depending on the severity of injury and on the individual, but I can’t see this FO justifying a 1st round pick on a player who might not be able to make it to a second contract – look how far Jesse Williams dropped last draft, a late 1st to mid 2nd prospect based on college play and potential, but dropped into the 5th round because of chronic degenerative knees.

    With only two picks in the first 130 or so, there have to be a number of healthy players at who are comparable to Easley – maybe at 64 he’s a relative bargain… but I just don’s see it.

  24. [...] missed it here’s yesterday’s piece on why Easley could be an option for the Seahawks. We also talked about him on April 18th for more on his fit in Seattle (plus tape vs [...]