The New England Patriots, unable to work a trade down in the second round of the NFL draft Friday, made Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling the top pick of the second day -- 33rd overall.
Dowling, 22, was considered among college football's best collegiate cornerbacks heading into the 2010 season but was limited by injury to five games last fall, dropping him out of the first round in many draft analysts' views.
Dowling had several leg injuries as a senior before his season ended with a fractured ankle. His selection comes one year after the Patriots chose another cornerback, Devin McCourty, with the 27th pick. McCourty was chosen for the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Dowling totaled 160 tackles and eight interceptions in 40 games in four years for the Cavaliers and was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team selection.
Dowling, from Chesapeake, Va., graduated from Virginia, with a degree in sociology, in 3½ years.
New England has two other picks in the second round, the 56th and 60th, and two in the third.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.