Jonathan Dowling was the Oakland Raiders' last pick in the 2014 NFL draft. He is the third defensive back chosen by Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders this weekend. He's also the second 6'3" defensive back drafted.
Dowling was actually a 4-star recruit, via Rivals.com, coming out of high school, and he went to the Florida Gators. However, he was dismissed from the team.
Dowling is the second player the Raiders took in the seventh round who ran into some issues in college. Dowling may have gone undrafted because of these issues, but instead, he was drafted in the last round. He'll have an opportunity to turn his life and career around now.
What Dowling Brings to the Table
Dowling is a tall and athletic defensive back. Players his size seem to be all the rage. He does need to put on a little bit more weight and work on his strength. He'd be an ideal safety if he was stronger. He'd be an asset in the passing game but a big liability in the run game.
There is no doubt that he has the ability to be a safety in this league. He just needs to come into the league realizing that every team passed on him at least three times. There is a reason he was drafted in the seventh round, and a lot of it had nothing to do with his physical ability. If he plays football like he can, the Raiders may have a steal here.
Where Dowling Fits
Dowling will be competing for a roster spot with the Raiders and will try to climb his way up the Raiders depth chart at safety. Oakland currently has two strong safeties on the roster. Dowling could quickly find himself on the field if he adds some muscle and commits to improving his tackling this summer.
The Raiders seem to be moving toward bigger defensive backs, and that gives Dowling an advantage. However, I don't know where he would fit on the Raiders roster in 2014.
Dowling will have to fight his way onto Oakland's roster. He will have Brandian Ross and Tyvon Branch ahead of him on the depth chart at strong safety. The Raiders have added several players, and the competition for a roster spot this offseason will be fierce.
Dowling will have to show he belongs on this team early. I know he believes he can be one of the best, but now he just has to do it.