NFL prospect focus: Dominique Easley and Joel Bitonio
Dominique Easley – Defensive Tackle – Florida
Size – 6020 – 288 – 4.75e
Strong Points – Very good athlete, excellent initial quickness, disruptive versus the run, pass rush, use of hands
Weak Points – Has had an ACL surgery on both knees, lacks ideal size and arm length, can be slow to find ball
Summation – Easley is a fourth-year junior entering the draft. He enrolled in 2010 and played as a backup in six games. He started 12 games in 2011, 11 games in 2012 and only played in three games in 2013 before sustaining a knee injury.
At 6020 – 288, Easley lacks ideal defensive tackle size, but he is a very good athlete with strength and explosion. He is extremely quick off the ball and is consistently able to get penetration and be disruptive versus the run game. While he gets that quick penetration, he doesn’t always find the ball. There have been times when he has gotten into the back field, forced the back to make a cut, yet doesn’t make the play because he doesn’t see the back. He needs to show more awareness.
With his speed and quickness, he is an excellent pursuit player. He shows consistent hustle, has speed, and takes good angles. With his quickness, he is also very effective versus the outside run. As a pass rusher, he gets off the ball quickly and can use his hands. He has the quick feet and change of direction to make a counter move and shows a top burst off a block to the quarterback. Despite his lack of great size, he is a productive bull rusher. He can stay low and has the explosive snap in his hips to generate power and push his opponent back. He is a consistent and aggressive tackler.
Easley has the natural tools to be a very effective three-technique defensive tackle. While he can play as a five-technique, I don’t see him as having the physical tools to be as effective. While Easley has the talent to be a first round pick, his durability is a huge issue. The medical people will determine if he goes high or low.
Grade A 6.6
Joel Bitonio – Offensive Tackle – Nevada
Size – 6042 – 302 - 4.97
Strong Points – Very athletic, productive run and pass blocker, play in space, use of hands, alert, competitive
Weak Points – May be maxed out size-wise, narrow hips, gets stalemated at times
Summation – Bitonio is a fifth-year senior and a three-year starter at Nevada. Has just adequate size at 6042 – 302. Has a bit of a narrow frame and may not have much growth potential.
He tested out as one of the better athletes among offensive linemen at the Combine. He ran under 5.00 and his agility drills and jumps were excellent. He has top body control and balance.
He plays from a two-point stance and has very good initial quickness. In the run game, he is able to come off the ball low and make solid contact. He keeps his feet moving and looks to gain ground. I have seen him get stalemated a few times against big people, but he is usually able to get some kind of movement. He takes good angles to the second level and can adjust on the move to hit a moving linebacker. He plays with bend and stays on his feet. Hand use is generally good, but he will wind up, at times, with run blocks.
In the pass game, he can set quickly. He has the lateral agility to slide and cut off a wide speed rusher. He shows a good punch, and he has the feet and agility to mirror opponents through moves and stay in balance. Because he lacks top lower body girth, he will give ground at times to explosive bull rushers. He is very competitive, and when this happens, he re-sets his feet and bends more. He is a natural bender.
Bitonio is very talented and athletic, but his size is marginal. Because of that, his technique has to be almost perfect. He has the tools to be a starter on the left side very early in his career. Some have suggested moving him to guard, but I don’t agree. He just doesn’t have the natural size to hold up at guard. I see him as a solid second round pick. His frame is similar to Green Bay’s David Bakhtiari, who went in the fourth round last year, but Bitonio is stronger and more athletic.
Grade A 6.7
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