Prospect Interview: DT Jordan Carstens

The life of a draft entrant begins right after their college season. Preparation begins to wow the scouts and enhance ones draft status. 2004 NFL draft prospect Jordan Carstens, a 6-5, 300 pound defensive tackle, is no different. "I was really trying to get my name out there," Carstens said of his Senior Bowl stint.

His name has already hit the airwaves in connection with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The number of teams scouting him will increase with time.

Marvin Lewis' staff. It was his first taste under an NFL coaching regimen.

"Coach Lewis did a great job," Carstens said. "All the staff was really good. They were really prepared, really organized.

"I think I did pretty well. I was coming off a season where I was injured most of the season. I didn't know how my knee was going to hold up. I sprained my MCL, missed two games, and then I played injured the rest of the season. I didn't know how I was going to do, coming back for the Senior Bowl. I think I played pretty well and turned some heads."

On the trek to the NFL, there is little time to heal the minor nicks and bruises, much less a more serious sprained MCL. Missing the Senior Bowl and any chance to workout in front of scouts is not something many can afford. Sucking it up and playing through the pain, when you know you are not at your best is something that needs to be done.

"I think with an injury like this where there is a lot of swelling in the knee just takes time to get everything healed up.

Iowa State defensive coordinator John Skladany admitted the injury derailed a promising senior season, "Jordan Carstens, after his injury, was not quite the player he had been earlier." Carstens is still healing today, a week after the Senior Bowl has been played, and playing didn't exactly help him on the road to wellness.

"Right, a week of practice at the Senior Bowl and the game…that really doesn't help. Once all this stuff is over I will be able to rest it for a while."

Next up, the combines in Indianapolis. Carstens is working out in New Orleans, putting in six days that go from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon. With plans to do all the drills at the combines, Carstens is "working on speed" and "working on specific drills".

"I just want to go out and do every drill the best I can. You can't really put a number goal on it. You just go out and do the best you can."

The road to the NFL started when the 228-pound Carstens came into Iowa State as a walk o in 1999. Since then he has added 70 pounds to his frame.

At 6-5, playing the defensive tackle position, he may even be asked to bulk up a little more. Carstens admits there was an initial shock to his system.

"I can feel it in my legs, but I have a big enough frame where 300 pounds isn't a problem. I don't think it really affected me that much and I am able to carry it well right now."

He ended his senior season with 74 tackles, five of them behind the line of scrimmage and two sacks. Every year NFL teams are looking for their version of Warren Sapp. The game starts in the trenches and teams are eager to find someone to plug the holes on the defensive line.

"The game starts up front," said Carstens. "If the defensive tackle is doing his job up front, that will free up the linebackers and enable them to make plays. Defensive tackle is an important part of the game."

Carstens is viewed by many as a hard worker. He grew up on a farm in Iowa and says his dad instilled that philosophy in him a long time ago.

"I think that has carried over into college and onto the football field and hopefully into the NFL," Carstens said. "Any time I get a compliment like that, I am not going to look to deep into it. If they say something negative about me, I am going to say ‘that is true about me' and move on. I think every player has something to work on. If you get complacent or think you are the total package, you are going to get into trouble. Every aspect of my game needs work and with some good work I should be ready (for the NFL)."

Carstens is working on the dream now. Despite a bum knee, he is putting in the work that will get him noticed at the combines and his pro day, before culminating in the draft come April. Then and only then can he take it easy…for a month or two before training camp begins and the need to impress returns.


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