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NFL Draft Grades 2011: Patriots Earn B For Ras-I Dowling Pick

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft began with a surprise Friday night, not so much with whom the New England Patriots selected, but that they kept the pick at all, as opposed to trading it away. With the No. 33 overall draft pick, the first pick of round two, the Pats opted to pass on a defensive end or wide receiver and instead took a cornerback, Ras-I Dowling, from Virginia.

He only played five games in 2010, starting just two, because of injuries, but Pats Pulpit still likes the pick:

If he can remain healthy, Dowling could be a great selection. At over 6'1" and 198 lbs, Dowling has great size for the cornerback position. In addition to that size he has long arms; he also surprised many by running a 4.4 flat 40 yard dash at the combine, and shows nice fluidity for a player of his size. He does not have the greatest ball skills or recovery speed, but his eight career interceptions shows he has some future potential as a ball hawk.

But how's he grade? Pats Pulpit says he's a B, and so far, the readers agree, with 43 percent giving Dowling a B as well.

For more on the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.