I want to start this article by putting my ego in check and saying I was very much in favor of the Easley pick. I, along with many people, was wrong. Easley was selected at 29 overall by the Patriots back in the 2014 draft. At the time people were excited, but hindsight is 20/20, and it turned out to be the worst bust in the Belichick era.
Looking back at the selections the New England Patriots have made in the first round, it's difficult to find a bad pick, nevermind a total bust. The 4 names prior to Easley include Dont'a Hightower, Chandler Jones, Nate Solder and Devin McCourty. All great picks.
Coming as a huge shock to anyone following the Patriots, Easley was cut back in April. Although this is relatively old news, there is a reason I'm bringing it back up. That reason is wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
Dobson was selected at 59 overall, out of Marshall. The Patriots do not have a great history of selecting wide receivers, but drafting one this high gave a lot of hope to Patriots fans that the bad luck would end. Once again, they would be wrong.
Dobson is entering his 4th year with the team, and has many people scratching their heads as to why he's still here. Over his first 3 seasons, he's only played in 24 games, starting in just 13 of them. He has 53 receptions on 98 targets for 698 yards. For reference, Julian Edelman had 6 fewer yards last season alone, and he missed several weeks with an injury.
Since mini camp started, we are starting to hear all the inner workings and what's going on with this team. Once again, we're starting to see the "Aaron Dobson looks good" & "Aaron Dobson caught a touchdown pass from Brady" tweets from the media. A situation that reminds me of Clay Buchholz with the Red Sox. Something we hear every year that just never plays out.
My point is that Easley was not a bad player, but was just such a bad person and teammate that they let him go. Easley was selected first round, while Dobson was in the second, and Dobson is still here. Dobson has put up stats that make CFL players look good, but he's still on the team, and still getting good reps in camp.
Belichick cannot put his ego aside with this guy and just say that he missed the pick, and it didn't turn out the way they wanted. However, they were able to do that with Easley, which makes me wonder how bad of a person he was. Belichick was willing to part ways with a first round draft pick, making undoubtedly the worst bust since he took over the position of GM.
Will this situation prevent the Patriots from staying away from selecting risky players in the future? After taking a big hit on his ego, will Belichick now play it safe when it comes to the first round? As I said, at the time, I loved the pick and I hope Easley doesn't affect the future draft choices on this team.
By Matt Watts