Dowling was projected to be a premier cornerback for the Patriots after he was selected with the 33d overall pick in the 2011 draft. Dowling never reached his potential in New England, however, starting just two games in two seasons plagued by injuries that saw him finish both seasons on injured reserve.
He came into training camp in 2013 with another injury and saw limited time during the preseason. The Patriots finally cut their losses with Dowling at the end of training camp, waiving the cornerback. He cleared waivers and is a free agent.