Dowling, a talented and savvy cornerback with the height the Packers covet at the position, worked out for 27 teams on Monday. Dowling (6-1 1/2) posted 40-yard times of 4.34 and 4.41 seconds with a 38-inch vertical leap, according to the source. He was superb during positional drills, even ducking one ball and instantly catching the other when coaches accidentally threw two balls at once.
"He's excellent," his former teammate, quarterback Marc Verica, told Packer Report on Tuesday. "He's a great talent, he's a great teammate, he's a leader, and yesterday he did a lot to help himself. Unfortunately this past season, he had to fight a lot of injuries and didn't have that many opportunities to be evaluated. Yesterday, he looked like he was back to full form. He was running fast, he was moving smoothly in his back pedal. There's no question he's a very talented player."
It was an important day for a player who entered his senior season looking like a sure first-round draft pick. However, his final season with the Cavaliers was torpedoed by a variety of injuries. He played in just five games (only two starts) due to an injured hamstring, knee sprain and broken ankle.
At the Scouting Combine, Dowling injured his hamstring while running a 4.40 in the 40.
The question is, is Dowling an injury-prone player who can't be relied upon or was last year just an anomaly? In his first three seasons, he played in 35 of a possible 37 games.
As a junior, Dowling was Virginia's best cornerback, even though Chris Cook emerged as a second-round draft pick by the Vikings. He finished 2009 with three interceptions and 11 passes defensed. He posted identical numbers as a sophomore.
If the Packers are comfortable with his health, he'd be a prime target — though they'd likely have to maneuver up the draft board to get him in the second round. His height suits Ted Thompson's draft history. He's played plenty of zone coverage and is a physical player against the run. He's also a high-character player — selected a team captain as a senior as well as being nominated for the AFCA Good Works Team and a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award. He earned a degree in socialism in merely three-and-a-half years.
"This is exactly what I know about him: That as a father, this is who you get down on your knees and pray that your daughter brings home someday," defensive coordinator Jim Reid told the Senior Class organizers. "That is the type of character that he is. You would be so proud to call Ras-I Dowling your son, and I've told his family that."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.