Red Towel Roundtable: NFL Draft

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Dec. 26, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas wide receiver Cody Wilson (11) makes catch while being tackled by Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defensive back Jonathan Dowling (1) in the second quarter of the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Dowling
Fletcher: Jonathan Dowling is an interesting name. His story is fairly well known – recruited by the big, bad SEC (Florida), things didn’t work out, came to the Hill, had a tremendous two seasons. He is an athlete – no way around it. However, he lacks maturity, especially on the field. (Remember the hit in the endzone against Southern Miss which lead him to be suspended for the Sun Belt opener in 2012?) Also, many people don’t feel he played against good enough talent to really know what he is capable of. However, I think that under the right circumstances, a team can take Dowling late 4th/early 5th and plug him in right away (or, at least, as early as the middle of the season). It’ll be interesting to me to see if Dowling remains at saftey or if whatever team drafts him thinks he could move to a linebacker position. Regardless, everything that I’ve seen says the Indianpolis Colts (where he’d be reunited with tight end Jack Doyle) and Pittsburgh Steelers need depth at saftey, and they might take a gamble on the fast/athletic Sun Belt saftey.

Marcus: After making his presence known on the Hill, I’m not so sure he can do the same in the NFL. I think Dowling will be either a late round pick or a non-drafted free agent. He would be a great depth addition to a team that wants someone who can cover ground quickly and who can snag interceptions well. He has good playmaking ability and provides experience with the special teams unit. However, I’m not entirely sure he is ready for the NFL yet, which will definitely hurt his draft stock. He isn’t as thick of a build as he should be, and will definitely need to build up to have a greater effect in the league. He also lacks maturity, and needs to become more coachable. I think if a team is willing to help him become more of an NFL ready safety he would be a solid late round pick, or a find on the free agent market.

Will: J. Dowl is definitely a risk. Many scouts call him too big for his britches and he certainly didn’t make any fans with his “I’m a diamond” comment at the combine. That being said, he must have gotten positive feed back as he entered as a junior. Dowling lacks ability to make sound tackles but it turns out he is quite the ball hawk which helps. Dowling will go in the latter rounds (6 or 7) to a team that is looking for a fast moving safety. I can see the Detroit Lions taking a chance. The Houston Texans, or New York Jets may be in there too. It’s certainly gunna be interesting for number 1.