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By John McMullen, NFL Editor - Archive - Email
Easley puts himself back in the mix
Dominique Easley "I don't expect sympathy from people," said Dominique Easley.
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There are plenty of boom-or-bust types in every draft, but perhaps none in the 2014 version poses a more interesting dilemma for NFL teams than former Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Easley is a top-10 talent with a history of significant knee problems playing a position (defensive tackle) which demands he carries a lot of weight on his 6-foot-2 frame.

Easley tore both of his ACLs during his time in Gainesville, Fla., most recently damaging the ACL and meniscus in his right knee last September, cutting short was shaping up as a monster season for the Staten Island, N.Y., native.

He proved to be a quick healer the first time after tearing his left ACL and by the 2012 season Easley was flashing impressive explosiveness off the ball in what is essentially the Triple-A of pro football, the Southeastern Conference.

Easley also has always shown the kind of quick, active hands that are a staple of three-technique stars in the NFL and despite being "undersized" at 288 pounds has always been able to hold his own against the run thanks to impressive core and lower-body strength.

More than one doctor has said an ACL is actually stronger after repaired surgically and rehabbed properly, but no matter how many times an MD tries to sell that narrative, NFL teams rarely bite and you can bet a number of clubs have already placed a red flag next to Easley's name and deemed him too big a risk to take during the first two days of the draft.

Easley didn't feel healthy enough to compete at the Gators' pro day on March 17, preferring to wait another month, circling April 17 as the date he could show off just how much he has recovered from his latest injury in a scant seven months.

Easley didn't disappoint on Thursday with 18 NFL teams watching despite measuring his own progress at about 80 percent of what he is when healthy.

A few scouts on hand even left thinking Easley put himself back in the mix at the top of Round 2 and turned himself into a solid consolation prize for teams that like Aaron Donald, another undersized but explosive defensive tackle who some have rated as a top-10 pick.

An NFL source confirmed to The Sports Network that Chicago, San Francisco, New England and the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have shown particular interest in Easley and could be in the mix on the draft's second day.

The Bears make a lot of sense because they are in need of a difference maker at the three-technique and many have linked them to Donald, but it's hit and miss as to whether the former Pitt star will be there for Phil Emery at No. 14 overall.

Meanwhile, the 49ers also look like a logical bet because their GM, Trent Baalke, has shown a willingness to take a chance on injured players with high ceilings (see Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore).

As for Easley, he just wants his chance.

"I don't expect sympathy from people," the DT said. "Life is not about sympathy."

The Sports Network's top defensive tackle in the 2014 NFL Draft:

1. - Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

2. - Louis Nix, Notre Dame

3. - Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

4. - Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota

5. - Dominique Easley, Florida

6. - Anthony Johnson, LSU

7. - Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

8. - Ego Ferguson, LSU

9. - Daniel McCullers, Tennessee

10. - Will Sutton DT, Arizona State

The Sports Network's Stock Watch:

Sleeper - DaQuan Jones, Penn State

Small School Standouts - Caraun Reid, Princeton; Zack Kerr, Delaware; Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State

Risk/Reward - Easley

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Schedule

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Standings

 2013 American Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-New England 12 4 0 .750 444 338 8-0 4-4 4-2 9-3
NY Jets 8 8 0 .500 290 387 6-2 2-6 3-3 5-7
Miami 8 8 0 .500 317 335 4-4 4-4 2-4 7-5
Buffalo 6 10 0 .375 339 388 4-4 2-6 3-3 5-7
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Cincinnati 11 5 0 .688 430 305 8-0 3-5 3-3 8-4
Pittsburgh 8 8 0 .500 379 370 5-3 3-5 4-2 6-6
Baltimore 8 8 0 .500 320 352 6-2 2-6 3-3 6-6
Cleveland 4 12 0 .250 308 406 3-5 1-7 2-4 3-9
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Indianapolis 11 5 0 .688 391 336 6-2 5-3 6-0 9-3
Tennessee 7 9 0 .438 362 381 3-5 4-4 2-4 6-6
Jacksonville 4 12 0 .250 247 449 1-7 3-5 3-3 4-8
Houston 2 14 0 .125 276 428 1-7 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Denver 13 3 0 .813 606 399 7-1 6-2 5-1 9-3
x-Kansas City 11 5 0 .688 430 305 5-3 6-2 2-4 7-5
x-San Diego 9 7 0 .563 396 348 5-3 4-4 4-2 6-6
Oakland 4 12 0 .250 322 453 3-5 1-7 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
 2013 National Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Philadelphia 10 6 0 .625 442 382 4-4 6-2 4-2 9-3
Dallas 8 8 0 .500 439 432 5-3 3-5 5-1 7-5
NY Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 383 4-4 3-5 3-3 6-6
Washington 3 13 0 .188 334 478 2-6 1-7 0-6 1-11
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Green Bay 8 7 1 .531 417 428 4-3-1 4-4 3-2-1 6-5-1
Chicago 8 8 0 .500 445 478 5-3 3-5 2-4 4-8
Detroit 7 9 0 .438 395 376 4-4 3-5 4-2 6-6
Minnesota 5 10 1 .344 391 480 5-3 0-7-1 2-3-1 4-7-1
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Carolina 12 4 0 .750 366 241 7-1 5-3 5-1 9-3
x-New Orleans 11 5 0 .688 414 304 8-0 3-5 5-1 9-3
Atlanta 4 12 0 .250 353 443 3-5 1-7 1-5 3-9
Tampa Bay 4 12 0 .250 288 389 3-5 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Seattle 13 3 0 .813 417 231 7-1 6-2 4-2 10-2
x-San Francisco 12 4 0 .750 406 272 6-2 6-2 5-1 9-3
Arizona 10 6 0 .625 379 324 6-2 4-4 2-4 6-6
St. Louis 7 9 0 .438 348 364 5-3 2-6 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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    Saturday at 7:00 pm on FOX50

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  • MiLB: Bulls at Norfolk

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

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  • MLB: LA Angels at NY Yankees

    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
8th
BOS 5
BAL 5
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
 
1st
HOU 13
POR 15
 
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3