Ras-I Dowling was a 1st round talent out of Virginia coming out in the 2011 NFL Draft last year, but he fell to the 2nd round because of his injury history. Dowling missed the majority of his senior year with injury and then reinjured himself at The Combine. The Patriots were not rewarded with their gamble on Dowling last year as he missed the whole season with a hip injury.
However, now it appears he’s finally healthy and on the road to being able to play for the Patriots this year. He will work out with the team at OTAs and according to ESPN Boston, the extra hip surgery he had this offseason was just a minor cleanout and not a major setback at all. Barring another setback, Dowling will be 100% ready for Training Camp, Preseason, and most importantly the regular season. He’ll open the season as the Patriots’ #3 cornerback behind Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington.
If he can play up to his abilities, it’ll go a long way towards fixing the Patriots’ awful defense. The Patriots are also counting on Patrick Chung staying healthy, Devin McCourty bouncing back from a down season, and strong play from rookies Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Tavon Wilson, and Jake Bequette, all selected in the first 3 rounds of April’s NFL Draft. If they get all that, their defense will be a solid compliment to their explosive offense.