Dominque Easley has been a popular Pats' mock draft pick over the last month, and it makes too much sense to change it now. Yes, Easley is coming off a second ACL surgery, but if he was fully healthy, he'd be drafted in the top of the first round. That's called value.
Easley's just the kind of player the Pats have taken a chance on in the past. Granted, someone like Ras-I Dowling did not work out, but Easley is a game-changer. You can throw out all the other individual position needs; the biggest problem for the Patriots is their pass defense.
They are the worst defense in the NFL on third down and in 20-plus-yard passing plays over the last four seasons. Easley's explosive burst off the snap is just what the Pats need to remedy these lingering problems. Easley would also make Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich more effective on the edge due to the attention he'll draw on the interior.
There's no reason to think that Easley will not fully recover from ACL surgery, and he already was impressive at his pro day. At the bottom of the first round, he could end up being the steal of the draft and instantly make the Patriots defense better while taking some pressure off of Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly as they return from injury.
If paired with Chris Jones on the inside, the Pats would have a legitimate upfield 4-3 front, something they have not been able to fully morph into in recent years and a schematic necessity against pass-happy teams.
In a league where your defense lives or dies based on its pass rush, Easley is the perfect addition to the Pats, regardless of his injury history, and taking him in the first round is a no-brainer.