In one of the more exciting recruitments of the 2017 recruiting cycle, Penn State was able to snag Tariq Castro-Fields on National Signing Day from the hometown Maryland Terrapins. That ended up being a big get for the Nittany Lions as Castro-Fields — a.k.a. TCF — was a stalwart on the Penn State defense for five seasons. He played in 52 games during his five seasons with the Nittany Lions, with 30 of those games being as a starting cornerback. While TCF never earned first-team or even second-team All-Big Ten honors, he was extremely reliable on the backend of the Penn State defense from pretty much his first snaps as a true freshman.
WHAT YOU’RE GETTING
The most appealing aspect of TCF’s game are his physical attributes. He’s a big, long cornerback at 6-foot-1, 197 pounds and he ran extremely well at the NFL combine, clocking in a 4.38 forty. So despite the fact that TCF is one of the older prospects in the draft, he checks a lot of the boxes from a physical upside perspective.
The issue with TCF and why he is likely to be a Day 3 pick instead of a Day 2 pick is that he is a jack of all trades, master of none. He has the size and ability to play press — but especially against smaller, quicker wideouts — can lose at the point of attack. He has good long speed as pointed out by the forty time, but the short-area explosiveness and quickness doesn’t pop up on the film nearly as often. He’s generally a smart player, but there were a few notable times that he’d get beaten by double moves. And lastly, he doesn’t generate a ton of turnovers — just three interceptions over 52 games. I don’t know how many snaps he played in his career, but conservatively, that’s over 1,500 snaps. You’d like to see a few more picks.
An NFL starter? That doesn’t seem likely, especially right out of the gate. But someone who is a solid backup and perhaps eventually works his way into a starting caliber cornerback? I think that’s certainly possible.