FOXBOROUGH – When Patriots training camp starts in late July, there may be no more scrutinized player than cornerback Ras-I Dowling.
That’s what happens when you’re a defacto first-round selection as the 33rd overall pick at the top of the second round. And when you’re 6-foot-2 and can run under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
After missing most of his final season at the University of Virginia with hamstring, knee, and ankle injuries, Dowling missed most of training camp with the Patriots with a hamstring injury but showed enough talent in a short period of time that he started the first two games of the season.
Then Dowling went on injured reserve and had hip surgery.
He’s out to regain a starting spot, but Dowling isn’t thinking about last year.
“Last year is in the past, I’m not really looking to that,” Dowling said on Thursday. “Just looking forward right now to training camp.
“Just trying to get better, healthy, every day. Striving to get back.”
Dowling is expected to be at full strength for training camp. Cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer admitted that after hip surgery, Dowling is “pushing through, trying to get back into game shape.”
When training camp commences, Dowling will try to take Kyle Arrington’s starting job. For now, Dowling is competing with Sterling Moore and Alfonzo Dennard for the nickel and dime package jobs.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to help the team,” Dowling said.