Five Oakland Raiders Rookies Who Will Breakout in Training Camp

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Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Western Kentucky strong safety Jonathan Dowling speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jonathan Dowling – S

Gil Brandt of facetiously criticized coach Dennis Allen for drafting Dowling with the 247th pick of the draft, accusing him of stealing a player who he referred to as a “special teams demon.”  Dowling started his college career as a prized recruit for the University of Florida, but ended up transferring to tiny Western Kentucky University and arrives in Oakland with a chip on his shoulder.

“…you ought to be put in jail for stealing. You got Dowling in the seventh round and I guarantee you he’ll be your special teams demon and will be a good safety for you” – Gil Brandt

At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, Dowling compares to 4th round pick Keith McGill in terms of size and speed, although he lacks the upper-body strength and athleticism of McGill. Dowling is an aggressive hitter who enjoys contact, and is also a sure tackler in the open field.  He will likely break out on special teams throughout camp and the preseason, and may supplant Taiwan Jones as the team’s number 1 special teams ace.