Rapid Reaction: Ras-I Dowling

April, 29, 2011
4/29/11
6:20
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After all the talk about how the top pick of the second round might have great value in a trade, the Patriots ended up keeping the No. 33 spot and selecting Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling.

Dowling, at 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, is part of a cornerback draft class that is filled with taller players than the norm.

The Patriots have 2010 first-round draft choice Devin McCourty as their top corner, with veteran Leigh Bodden (returning from a shoulder injury that cost him all of 2010), third-year man Kyle Arrington and potentially Darius Butler projected to battle for the starting spot on the opposite side.

Now Dowling joins the mix.

This figures to push Butler, the 2009 second-round draft choice who took a step back last year. Fourth-year corner Jonathan Wilhite could also face an uphill climb for a roster spot.

Those hoping for a pass-rusher will have to wait a bit longer as the team's next pick is 56th overall, which was acquired from the New Orleans Saints.

Bill Belichick has said that defensive backs are like pitchers in baseball -- you can never have enough of them. This pick seems to reflect that line of thinking, as the Patriots had more noticeable needs in other areas of the roster, but Dowling was obviously their highest-rated player.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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