McCourty on Dowling: Size and smarts

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty is headlining a football camp along with former New England safety Lawyer Milloy this week at Merrimack College, and he sat down with ESPNBoston.com for a 1-on-1 interview.

One part of the interview that drew attention was McCourty's thoughts on rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling, the team's second-round pick (33rd overall).

McCourty was asked his impressions of Dowling from the time they spent together at June's informal workouts at Boston College.

"When I first walked up to him, I heard he was big, but he was like 6-2, maybe 200 , 205 pounds. He looks like a specimen," McCourty answered. "I think when guys get drafted, everyone looks at their physical tools and what they might be able to do on the field right away, but just talking to him, I'm trying to explain the defense and as I'm saying a sentence, he's just finishing it. It seems like he has a lot of football knowledge. I think that's important when you come in to the New England defense; if you have some football knowledge that you can put together with what Coach Belichick teaches us, I think it can go a long way."

McCourty, who at 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds is a sturdy presence at cornerback, was asked how Dowling's 6-2, 200-pound frame could be an advantage for him in the NFL.

"We have some receivers in our league now that are huge, just in our division last year, playing against Braylon Edwards and Brandon Marshall," he said. "When you line up at the size he has, he can step up and go toe for toe with those guys physically, and he has good speed so he can run with them too."