Why Oakland Raiders Safety Jonathan Dowling Needs More Snaps in 2015 Season

The Oakland Raiders have another gem buried within their roster from the 2014 draft class, and he needs more snaps in 2015. 

Cornerbacks Keith McGill and Travis Carrie hope to improve a Raiders pass defense that surrendered 29 passing touchdowns in 2014. Charles Woodson recorded four interceptions out of nine in total for the team. Just like defensive end Justin Tuck who led the team in sacks (five), it’s time to pass the torch.

Who's the next man up behind Woodson? It's clear safety Jonathan Dowling has the talent to make an impact, but his maturity issues in college forced him to climb a steep hill back into recognition as a high-end player. 


College Bad Boy Gone Ball Hawk

This game against Kentucky was Dowling’s best performance of his collegiate career. He managed to play at a high level for the 2012 season, despite sitting out a whole year due to NCAA transfer restrictions.

Why was a talent like Dowling playing at Western Kentucky anyway? According to NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki, the safety had an opportunity on the big stage at Florida but insubordination under former head coach Urban Meyer dimmed his chances of getting nationwide recognition:

Began his college career at Florida, seeing action in two games as a true freshman in 2010. In November, though, he was kicked off the team in-season by coach Urban Meyer for reportedly not complying with staff and coaches as well as skipping class. Sat out in 2011, transferring to Western Kentucky. Returned to the field in 2012 and immediately made his presence felt, recording 68 tackles, seven pass breakups and six interceptions with 2.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 12 games (11 starts) at free safety.

Dowling was a true freshman at the time of his mistakes and hopefully with time comes maturity. Undeniably, time away from the field brought out the best in his pla...

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