FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick spent one-on-one time with first-round draft choice Dominique Easley in Florida as part of the pre-draft process, and Easley obviously made a favorable impression.
"Saw a guy that likes football, smart. He's definitely into football," Belichick said late Thursday night after the Patriots used the 29th pick to select him.
As for Easley on the field, there wasn't much to dissect from this past season because he only played in three games. Still, Belichick saw enough from 2013 and past years to feel comfortable with the pick.
"He does a lot of things well. He's a smart guy, very instinctive," Belichick said. "He's got a great motor, works hard. Football is very important to him. He's an all-in guy. There's not much to not like about him."
Belichick also touched on Easley's versatility and ability to create havoc inside.
"He's played everywhere along the defensive line," he said. "You don't see a lot of guys who do that -- he lines up on the nose, he lines up on the guard, he lines up on the tackle, he lines up out wide at times. You can see him playing all those spots.
"He’s an explosive player, very explosive. A very disruptive player. In college, I would say his stats might have been a little bit deceiving because a lot of times he was the disruptive person on the play, but he wasn't the guy who ended up making the tackle, or it wouldn't be on the stat sheet. But the reason the play wasn't successful was his penetration and ability to be disruptive. I think he has a good knack for that."
Some more soundbites from Belichick:
Overall thoughts on the draft. "The way the board ended up, we felt very good about Dominique being available at 29. He’s been a very good player in a real good program. They’re well coached down there with Coach [Will] Muschamp. You can see him playing against a lot of good players in that conference. I thought Dominque played very well. He’s a versatile guy that’s played different positions along the defensive line. So we’ll just see how it all comes together here, but I’m glad he was able to last that long. I’m looking forward to having him."
On sensing interest with Easley from other teams. "There are always [trade] conversations, but we felt good about Dominique and there were a couple teams behind us that – we just didn’t want to take a chance on him."
Easley's two torn ACLs. "We feel like he’ll be all right. ... When he gets up here we’ll work with him and see where he’s at, just like we do with everyone else."
Playing against good competition in the SEC. "There are a lot of good football players there and I think you can put on just about any film and watch him against quality players in the SEC or even Louisville last year [in the 2013 Sugar Bowl]. But you know, there was plenty of good competition. You see him against guys that are either in the league from previous years or guys that you have on your draft board this year or you’re going to have on there next year. I think he’s a very disruptive player and he showed up against good competition."
On rumors of a possible Ryan Mallett trade. "Why don’t you talk to whoever wrote the story. Since that person has all the answers, go talk to them."
On if he watched the Bruins winning in overtime over the Canadiens. "No, we didn’t. We really didn’t until after we were done. They won in overtime, right? Goal from the guy they brought up today. That’s good personnel management by [general manager] Peter [Chiarelli] and [head coach] Claude [Julien]. Hats off to them. That’s great. That’s great coming back here now tied up. Tough to win there in Montreal, too, so that’s a big win for them. That’s great. Congratulations to them."