Pro Day Huge For Castleman, Hautau

As the current Oklahoma State football team was wrapping up offseason conditioning last week in preparation for spring football, standing on the sidelines watching the drills was recently graduated defensive tackle James Castleman. Castleman was in workout gear as he has been preparing for Pro Day, one of the most important days of his life, on Thursday.

The 6-3, 300-pound Amarillo, Texas native has been in the Dallas-Fort Worth area working out at a new facility, and may actually be under that 300 pounds that is listed. His workout regimen has been tough and he spent the final days changing his routine a little under Rob Glass and now prepares to put his best foot forward.

In the next 24 hours his bench press reps, his vertical jump, his 40-yard dash, and drills in front of the NFL scouts, coaches, and player-personnel admin will help determine where he will end up, how he gets there as a draft choice or a free agent, and how much he can make when he arrives.

"I've worked hard and I've done everything I can in order to be ready for this," Castleman said. "I've always wanted to play in the NFL and I appreciate everyone that has helped, but it's up to me now, really up to me."

It is up to Castleman and the decision others make on what they see from him, from his defensive tackle teammate Ofa Hautau, and any other Cowboys that work out for the scouts. There could be as many as 12 to 13 former Cowboys that work out. We anticipate besides Castleman and Hautau that running back Desmond Roland, linebacker/safety Josh Furman, and offensive guard Chris Grisbhy will be working out and will be anticipated by the NFL folks.

Castleman and Hautau are dealing with a big and talented defensive tackle class. Castleman is rated 25th among defensive tackles by one respected NFL Draft source. The book on the Cowboys former number 91 is that he is quick and gets off the ball quick, extends arms for separation well, and is smart and reads the backfield well. He can move and play with leverage. His weaknesses is that he doesn't always shed blockers as quickly as he should and he in an inconsistent pass rusher. The scouting report does say he doesn't quit on plays and that is always a huge positive.

Scouting reports on Hautau (6-0, 298) are not as easy to find. Opinions on that defensive tackle class being loaded are plentiful including from our friend Charles Davis at the NFL Network and Fox Sports.

"It's a very talented one and a very deep one because there are a number of guys that can play," Davis said. "You always hear the college coaches when you are doing games in the fall talk about how hard it is to find those guys and I think in this year's draft NFL teams won't have that much trouble.

"Carl Davis from Iowa had a good Senior Bowl and really jumped up, and one of my favorites is Michael Bennett from Ohio State and I thought the second half of the season he really jumped it up. I can go on and on and name guy after guy. To answer your question I think it is a deep defensive tackle class."

Oklahoma State's Junior Day is the same day as Oregon's and besides a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Marcus Mariota there is also a big-time defensive tackle in Arik Armstead working out for the Ducks audition day.

So the question begs for Davis, who is close to the process and follows it, how much can Castleman and Hautau benefit and help themselves at the Pro Day? Can they jump into the mix? For instance, Castleman into the top 20 from being ranked 25th and Hautau, who is ranked in the 40s, jump into the top 30 or so?

"I think Castleman will be more attractive to teams because of his ability to get up field and make more plays," Davis said. "He is so athletic and I was at the East-West Shrine Game and he was hurt early with an ankle and I was so disappointed because I wanted everybody to see how athletic he is.

"Hautau is more of a one or a zero shade technique true nose tackle over the center. Hautau won't be overlooked in that he is a run-stop guy and in that league you still have to stop the run. Tune into any Super Bowl over the past years and you will see a big, thick run-stopping guy like Hautau in the middle of that defense. I think both guys have a chance and the pro day performance can really make a difference. It will show how hard these guys have worked and how bad they want in the league."

Davis understands the process and said sometimes it can be discriminatory like when your Pro Day is opposite a school like Oregon, but that just means the head coaches and the coordinators may not be in Stillwater but he thought plenty of defensive line coaches will be. Castleman and Hautau will be there ready to greet them.

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