6’1, 198 pounds | Cornerback | Virginia
Strengths: Is a big, physical corner who has a lot of experience despite missing a majority of the 2010 season. Does a nice job of high-pointing the ball and has long arms to break up the pass. Has been used in zone and man. Is good in both, giving him some flexibility. Seems to understand complex route principles and typically isn’t beat on double moves. Is decent supporting the run. Tackling is above-average for a cornerback. Could have a future at safety at some point in his career.
Weaknesses: The biggest issue teams probably have with Dowling is his injury history. He played in just five games in 2010 (starting two). He was lost for the year in November due to a fractured ankle, but also had knee and hamstring issues. Doesn’t tend to play up to his timed speed. Has trouble keeping up with shifty receivers, especially on quick routes. Likes to watch the quarterback too long instead of playing his man.
Final word: Following the 2010 season, Dowling looked like a solid first-round pick. He was more regarded than Vikings second-round pick Chris Cook and budding Cavaliers star Chase Minniefield. Other than his injury history, Dowling has the look of a top-level cornerback. Staying healthy, though, has been such an issue that it’s hard to think too highly of him.