THE ROAD TO THE DRAFT
Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
6-foot-2, 198 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round
Lowdown: Dowling could be a steal. He has excellent cover skills, and he ran a 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash at the combine. He’s big. The problem is he played only three full games last season because of a knee injury and then a fractured ankle. He appeared in 35 of a possible 37 games his first three years at Virginia. He had three interceptions apiece in 2008 and 2009. If he lasted to early in the third round, Buffalo might have to consider him.
Dowling does not like to show a lot of bravado. He's workmanlike. He ran a Christian leadership program for teammates at Virginia. He graduated with a degree in sociology in 3 1-2 years.
He has a thin - very thin - connection to Buffalo. His father, Larry Dowling, is a big boxing fan who liked former fighter Livingstone Bramble. Bramble changed his first name to Ras-I. Larry Dowling liked the name. The younger Dowling's middle name is Luis, after former world lightweight champ Jose Luis Ramirez. What does this have to do with Buffalo? Livingstone Bramble scored a technical knockout of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini to win the world lightweight title in Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium.
Said ESPN’s Mel Kiper: “I like guys who are coming off an injury and drop, because if they showed talent and had a high grade before an injury, they're gonna come back from that and they're gonna probably be fine," he said. "History tells us that, and you can get 'em at bargain points. ... If you get him in the third or fourth round, you got yourself a pick worth taking.”