This time last year Florida’s dominant defensive lineman Dominique Easley was projected to easily go in the first round, likely in the top 10 of the NFL Draft. After tearing his ACL early in the season last year, being drafted in the first round was all but assured. But the New England Patriots made Easley’s dream a reality by picking him 29th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ronald Powell was with Easley to give him the news:
With Easley being drafted in the first round, Florida has had at least one player selected in the first round of every NFL Draft since 2000 with the exception of 2012. The Gators have also had 24 first round picks since 1995 and 46 all-time. Easley joins an all-star list of Gators to be drafted by the Patriots. He became the seventh player from Florida New England has drafted since 2000, more than any other school. Pats head coach Bill Belichick has gone on record saying he’s a fan of the Florida program and even going to the Gators’ men’s basketball NCAA Tournament game against Pitt in March. Although Belichick has an affinity for UF players, he’s currently the only Gator on the New England roster.
Players from all kinds of sports poured their congratulations and support for Easley on twitter. Some notables:
— Will Muschamp (@CoachWMuschamp) May 9, 2014
It feels kinda crazy!… My roommate just got drafted in the first round!! Y’all better believe it he was the best Dlineman in the nation! — Damien Jacobs (@HallUFameDame) May 9, 2014
Ok big Easley !!!
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) May 9, 2014
Check out our timeline for more reactions. For full analysis of Dom Easley, check out this pre-draft analysis. As for the rest of the draft-eligible Gators, it’s likely a string of defensive backs will come off the board Friday night. Jaylen Watkins, Marcus Roberson, and Loucheiz Purifoy are all evaluated to go between the second and fourth rounds.