First of a six-part series
Each day during the Scouting Combine through Tuesday, we'll feature Nolan Nawrocki's in-depth scouting report of a top draft prospect.
OLT-ORT Anthony Castonzo, #74
Boston College | Grade: 6.25
Ht: 6-7 1/8 | Wt: 311 | Sp: 5.21 | Arm: 34 1/2 | Hand: 10 5/8
Notes: Father, Bill, was an offensive lineman at Illinois (1973-76). Anthony, who broke his leg as a sophomore, was a two-way lineman who also competed in track and field (discus, shot put) as a suburban Chicago prep but was too lean at 225 pounds to attract the attention of recruiters. Attended Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) in '06 before becoming the first B.C. freshman to start on the offensive line in a decade. Despite being listed at 262 pounds, he started all 14 games at right tackle in '07 opposite Lions '08 first-rounder Gosder Cherilus, protecting Atlanta Falcons '08 first-rounder Matt Ryan. Made the transition to left tackle in '08 and started all 40 games over the next three seasons (2008-10). Missed '10 spring practice while recovering from a broken right foot. Team captain. Biochemistry major who intends to conduct cancer research and become a doctor after his football career. Was nominated to be a Rhodes scholar.
Positives: Excellent arm and body length. Very tough mentally. Extremely intelligent and hardworking. Understands angles and maintains positioning. Runs his feet on contact and can torque defenders off the ground. Flashes a mean streak. Works easily to the second level, maneuvers surprisingly well for his size and gets good second-level fits. Uses his hands very well to steer and recover. Outstanding in pass protection — sets quickly and is able to cut off the wide rush. Can shuffle, slide and mirror. Aggressive run blocker — attacks the line of scrimmage and plays with urgency. Versatility is a big plus — lined up at every position on the line but center at the Senior Bowl, fared equally well on the right and left sides and showed more pop than he did in season. Rises to the challenge against better competition — fared well against Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.
Negatives: Will overset and give up the inside. Not powerful. Lacks lower-body base strength and power — will rise out of his stance, get outleveraged by shorter defenders and struggle trying to keep his cleats in the ground.
Summary: A Day One starter who can be plugged in readily at almost any position, Castonzo is not flashy and must continue to improve his lower-body strength and anchor, but he is very smart and dependable, seldom gets beat and could start at left tackle for the next 8-10 years.
NFL projection: First-round pick
Nolan Nawrocki's 2011 Draft Preview book, with scouting reports on approximately 500 prospects, will go on sale March 29 at bookstores everywhere. It also can be preordered at PFWstore.com either individually or as part of a combo-pack with the 2011 Draft Guide magazine, which goes on sale March 1.