NFL Draft: Patriots May Have Reservations About LB

<p>The New England Patriots continue to make moves at the Linebacker position. In spite of recently adding Giants' special teams LB, Wesly Mallard to the roster, they may not be done yet.</p> <p>Patriots Insiders take a look at one prospect the team has has spoken with, and may have been looking at for the upcoming draft.</p>

Castillo's stock shot up after a very impressive 2005 Combine performance. Castillo and his agent, Mike McCartney of Priority Sports and Entertainment in Chicago, released the information to all 32 NFL teams. Castillo tested positive at the Combine.

But according to the Seattle Times, this announcement might not have deterred the Seahawks from inquiring about the 6'3", 303-pound DT. Dwaine Board, Seattle's defensive line coach, flew to Chicago and met with Castillo last Wednesday. The Patriots were among the other teams that have also spoken with Castillo.

McCartney was recently quoted as saying that he and Castillo had been in contact with all NFL teams, and that he feels confident about where Castillo stands. The Patriots may be inquiring about Castillo as a possible second-round or even third-round pick if he lasts that long. Without the health concerns, or the latest development concerning use of a banned substance, Castillo likely would be gone before the Patriots can make their selection in those rounds. Teams are interested in finding out the facts for themselves before moving a player down the draft boards, and Castillo's strong play will keep him on the radar.

In addition to the news released by Castillo's agent, Northwestern head coach Randy Walker sent a letter to all NFL teams in which he said that Castillo never failed a drug test at the school.

Castillo was a three-year starter and All-Conference selection as a senior at Northwestern. He ran a 4.85 40-yard dash at the Combine in February, which solidified his elevated position.

The Patriots may decide to overlook player like Castillo who has health concerns in a this draft considering there are other which will be available later. Much of Castillo's history is widely known, and well documented. He isn't the only player with health concerns who is on the Patriots radar screen. The team has spoken at length to Channing Crowder, the Florida linebacker who has had multiple surgeries to his knees. Crowder, projected to be a late first or early second-round draft choice.

If the Patriots do decide to go with a linebacker, they can always fall back on Alfred Fincher the UCONN linebacker who has jumped onto a lot of teams boards after impressing scouts and coaches alike with his workouts and post season play. Fincher will likely be available in the second, possibly third round, which would enable the Patriots to target the wide receiver or cornerback they need.

The FDA Gets Involved

In other news concerning banned substances or performance enhancers, the FDA has been stepping up it's vigilance in this area. On March 11, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a crackdown on products containing androstenedione, commonly known as "andro." The products are marketed over the counter as dietary supplements that enhance athletic performance. In the body, androstenedione is converted into testosterone and estrogen.

According to the FDA, while ads claim that supplements containing promote increased muscle mass, research has not shown this to be the case. In addition, studies have shown side effects and potential long-term risks; androstenedione poses the same kinds of health risks as anabolic steroids. Given the lack of proven benefits and the risks involved, the FDA is requesting companies to stop distributing dietary supplements containing androstenedione. The FDA is also encouraging Congress to consider legislation to classify these products as a controlled substance.

The NFL and the Players Association have agreed to follow stricter standards for testosterone levels in future. The new standards, which required the approval of the NFLPA, had been expected to be adopted in May when the NFL and the union hold their annual discussions about revising the drug program.

"We try to stay as much ahead of the curve as we can," Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, recently told Jamie Aron of the Associated Press. "We support trying to get cheaters off the field any way we can. This is another example of that."

Doug Farrar of contributed to this story.

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