Outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, the 53rd overall pick in 2010, and cornerback Ras-I Dowling, the 33rd overall pick in the 2011 draft, are shining for the Jets this offseason, the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta reported Saturday. Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been using Cunningham as the team’s backup strong-side linebacker, and he said Dowling, at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is “clearly built like a press corner.”
Dowling’s problem in New England was that he could never stay healthy, dealing with nagging hip and thigh injuries. Dowling played just nine games in two seasons with the Patriots, and after a strong start to the offseason in 2013, he suffered another injury.
Ryan thinks both players can help the Jets, regardless of what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick thought of them.
“I don’t believe the one guy up in New England’s got all the answers,” Ryan told the New York Daily News. “I worry about ourselves, what we think of a player and how we evaluate a player. Do I respect the hell out of Bill? Absolutely. But if we think a player can help us, we don’t care how we get him.”
Cunningham also couldn’t stay healthy for the Patriots, dealing with groin and hamstring injuries. He also was suspended for four games in 2012 for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.