A Potential Atlanta Falcons Draft Pick: Ras-I Dowling

You're going to assume I picked this guy purely because of his name, but give me a little credit. It's only half because of his name.

So why Ras-I Dowling? The Virginia cornerback was productive up until his senior year, where he struggled with injuries and was only on the field for a handful of games. That might scare you off right away, but it's going to do the same for a lot of teams. And therein lies the value of our friend Dowling.

So what's good about Dowling? His junior year, the 6'2", 195 pound corner picked 3 passes and deflected 11, showing signs of being a quality wrap-up tackler. Before pulling his hamstring on his 40-yard dash, he managed to put up a blazing 4.4, excellent for a corner with some size and weight.

That's essentially what Dowling offers: A combination of size, speed and good coverage instincts. He's not going to set the world on fire immediately, more than likely, but with that combination of attributes he could be an immediate contributor at corner. I envision him as an eventual replacement for Brian Williams, and a guy who has some shot at starting down the line.

The downside of Dowling? Gotta be those nagging injury issues, something the Falcons should be wary of after guys like Peria Jerry and William Moore struggled to make an early impact. He was terrific his junior year, but he's coming off a basically lost season, and with that comes justified concerns about how he'll adjust to the NFL game.

With a projection anywhere between the 2nd and 4th rounds, I could see the Falcons taking a hard look at him only if he survives late into the 3rd or fourth. What are your thoughts?

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