NFL Draft Profile: Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields

by Pat Pryor
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2Tariq Castro-Field is a talented cornerback who spent 5 years at Penn State, starting in 4 of them. He was a media All-Big Ten third team member in 2019, and an honorable mention in 2021. He appeared on the National Team of the Senior Bowl, coached by the Jets’ staff. Now he enters the NFL draft after spending half a decade as a Nittany Lion, although he did miss most of 2020 due to an undisclosed injury. Castro-Fields finished his Penn State career with 33 tackles and 6 passes defended in 2021.

NFL Draft Measurables

Height 6’0-5/8″ Wingspan 76” Vertical 37″
Weight 197 40-time 4.38 Bench 14
Hand 8-6/8″ Shuttle 4.06 3-Cone 7.05
Arm 30-6/8″‘ Broad Jump 10’11” RAS 9.74

How We Grade Players for the NFL Draft

Grade Player Meaning Grade Player Meaning
9.5-10 Generational Player 6.25-6.75 Average Starter
9-9.49 Top of Position 5.5-6.25 Below-Average Starter/Backup
8.5-8.99 All-Pro Caliber 5-5.4 Developmental Player
8-8.49 High End Starter 4.5-4.9 Special Teams Player
7.5-7.99 Pro-Bowl Caliber Player 4-4.4 Practice Squad
7-7.49 Above Average Starter 3-4 Journeyman PS
6.75-6.99 Slightly Above-Average 0-2.9 Free Agent

How We Grade Traits

Grade Trait Meaning Grade Trait Meaning
9.5-10 Nearly Perfect 6-6.4 Average
9-9.4 Top of Position 5.5-5.9 Below-Average
8.5-9 Great 5-5.4 Below-Average
8-8.4 Very Good 4.5-4.9 Poor
7.5-7.9 Good 4-4.4 Bad
7-7.4 Above Average 3-4 Very Bad
6.5-6.9 Slightly Above Average 0-2.9 Non-Existent

NFL Draft Evaluation

Trait Grade Trait Grade
Press Man 5.25 Range/Closing 7
Off Man 6.5 Awareness 6
Zone 6.25 Motor 7.25
Reaction 6.5 Discipline 6.75
Footwork/COD 6 Versatility 6.5
Speed 7.5 Frame 6
Ball Skills 6
Tackling 4.5 Final Grade 6.22

Strengths

Good boundary corner. Is sticky in off man coverage. Quick processing, is able to use good speed to read and react, giving him nice range. Great acceleration, twitchy athlete. Good zone corner who can close quickly with his acceleration. Reads the field in front of him well. Quick choppy feet. Is able to stay with corners without getting grabby. Has experience in zone, off and press man in several schemes. Elite testing at combine (52nd corner all time for RAS, 2nd this year). Has plenty of experience, playing in 46 games over 5 years. Locked down several top receivers in the NFL Draft.

Weaknesses

Inconsistent hip fluidity, will appear stiff later in the play. Does not have the strength to shed receivers, is not a reliable tackler. Will turn too early, allowing receivers to manipulate his blind spot and beat him at the top of the route. Does not show combine 4.38 speed on tape. Gets beat by quick receivers in press man at the line and does not have the length needed to make up for it. Will be well over 23 by the start of the season.

Summary

Castro-Fields originally caught my eye when watching Garrett Wilson against Penn State. During that game, he was able to lockup Wilson and Chris Olave for most of the game. He’s a quick corner with good reactions and coverage skills. He isn’t the biggest player on the field, but still is able to break up passes. His lack of strength limits him in the run game, but he has a high motor. He comes into the league with good zone and off man coverage, so he can begin his career as a valuable backup. His major concern is press man, where he can often get beat at the line.

If he develops in press man, and gets some fluidity and strength to improve his zone coverage, he could become a starter eventually. Played exclusively on the boundary but could be seen in the slot at the next level.

Round Grade: 4th
Round Projection: 5th
Team Fits: NE, DAL, LAR
Floor: Versatile Depth Corner
Ceiling: Starting Slot Corner

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