Well, we have covered the first round of the Patriots 2011 draft. Yes many people were not thrilled with the results. The pick of Solder was seen as a reach by many fans while many wanted the Pats to use the pick to address one of their needs. But the draft was not over. And several players were still on the board who could bolster the team’s pass rush or add a running back. So with the first pick of the second day, the Pats selected…
Ras-I Dowling, cornerback, out of Virginia. Once again, many were baffled by the pick. With players such as Brooks Reed still on the board, most thought the Pats would get that much needed outside linebacker or defensive end. But Belichick decided to go in a different direction. Before we chastise the team’s selection, let us look at Dowling and see if he was a worthy 2nd round pick.
First, Dowling is 6-1 and 198 lbs. He is not small and with the size of most receivers in the NFL today, that is a good start. Second, this guy made plays. He had 160 tackles and led the team in interceptions two consecutive years. He also played on special teams, adding to his versatility and experience.
Third, he was voted team captain by his teammates. This guy is a leader. He is respected by his teammates. Finally, the Pats are not deep at cornerback. Yes Devin McCourty had a great year last year. But Leigh Bodden is injury-prone. And there is not much quality depth behind them. The defense needed another corner. And they got a good one. I like this pick. Dowling has a chance to start this year, if there is a season this year.
So far, this draft is looking solid for the Pats. They addressed two needs at OT and CB. They were able to acquire another first round pick in 2012. Will the rest of the draft continue to look good? Come back next Wednesday as we discuss the Pats drafting of Shane Vereen.