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 Offensive Tackles 
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Post Re: Offensive Tackles
Pablo wrote:

OL Bill Castonzo could be a steal for Lions at No. 13

For years, Bill Castonzo has been offering his son, Anthony, the same piece of fatherly coaching advice: Get nasty.

Last month, when he returned home from his Boston College pro day, one of the draft's best offensive linemen finally figured out why.

Father popped in an old film of his playing days at Illinois, and son watched with amusement.

"It was hilarious because they were in, like, sprinter stances and they'd just fire out straight at each other and just hit each other," Castonzo said. "I'm like, 'So this is why you're telling me I've got to be nasty because regardless of what happens, this defensive lineman runs straight into you and you run straight into him. It's whoever's nastier wins.' "

A four-year starter for the Eagles, Castonzo has earned a reputation not for his mean streak but as a top technician.

He played both right and left tackle at Boston College -- the former as a freshman on the same line with current Lions tackle Gosder Cherilus -- and has made a remarkable rise to probable first-round pick after leaving high school with no scholarship offers.

"I was a 6-foot-7, 220-pound drink of water," Castonzo said of his high school days. "Every school that I talked to said, 'We don't think you're going to get big enough.' So I went to Fork Union Military Academy and got big enough."

Castonzo, who added 25 pounds in his post-graduate year at Fork Union, set a school record with 54 straight starts at Boston College, a handful of them coming against two of the draft's top pass rushers, Robert Quinn of North Carolina and Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson.

Castonzo held his own in both matchups, and as a senior kept Bowers, the NCAA sack leader, without so much as a quarterback hurry.

"If you want to look at the way he plays the game, the way he rose to the occasion against Da'Quan Bowers, and if you look at the intelligence and the way he approaches the game, I think it's very impressive," Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki said. "He's got a consistent demeanor about him, and I think he's a guy that you can trust and plug in for the next 10 to 12 years and feel very comfortable with what you're getting. From a safety standpoint, I think teams are going to feel more comfortable pulling his name off the board first (among offensive linemen)."

Castonzo could go as high as No. 9 to the Cowboys or slip into the 20s, and depending on how things break the Lions might consider him in the first round at No. 13.

If that happens, Castonzo could rejoin Cherilus on the line, or maybe even replace his college mentor, who's coming off microfracture knee surgery.

"Playing with Gos again would be awesome," Castonzo said. "I'd be coming in, I'd be the new guy and he'd let me know that it's the NFL and we don't accept anything less than success, so it'd probably be like the same situation all over again. It'd be kind of nice."

As many as four other offensive tackles could go in the first round, including USC's Tyron Smith, another possibility at 13 for the Lions. But former Rams front-office executive Tony Softli said Castonzo should be the first lineman off the board.

"I like his size, I like his length. He can anchor," said Softli, now an analyst with 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis. "He handles the pass rush, the bull rush real well. Sometimes his pad level rises a little bit, but he gets it back down. He's got good hand placement. And he's got good feet. He's not fooled often.

"This is a passing league now, so you've got to be able to protect that passer, and his run blocking -- he can sink his hips and get on and finish. I think he's got to get a little bit wider base and work on that, but I think he's probably the most complete tackle in the first round."

Mayock just mocked him to us on NFL network. I find it hard to believe that basically everybody ignores our depth at tackle. Ok, so Backus is old and contract is coming. But if we draft a tackle, he's not going to start. So if we are going to take a tackle, take one later and develop. You don't see the Patriots taking tackles in the 1st, and they do just fine.

April 27th, 2011, 8:44 pm
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