Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo will hear his name called in the first round of this month's NFL draft. Throughout the week, he'll share his insight with NESN.com about the pre-draft process, from hiring an agent to the work he's done behind the scenes to prepare himself for life in the NFL. The idea is to give the readers an inside look at a player's life in the months before the draft.
Anthony Castonzo couldn't get enough of the interview process at the draft combine in Indianapolis. The passionate prospect relished the opportunity to talk football with some of the NFL's great head coaches, and he was one of the rare athletes who was stress-free throughout the process.
Castonzo got a kick out of one team's line of questioning, which likely gets fired toward every athlete who participates in the most famous pre-draft event.
"The one that was funny to me was when they asked me, 'Do you smoke pot?'" Castonzo said. "I was like, 'No.' They were like, 'What's your favorite time of day to smoke pot?' I'm like, 'I told you I don't smoke pot.' They're like, 'When was the last time you smoked pot?' Then I'm like, 'I told you I don't smoke pot.' Then they're like, 'But cocaine is your drug, huh?' And I actually started laughing, so they're like, 'What do you do? You do heroin? You've got to do something.' They were just throwing questions at me left and right. I was just cracking up actually. It was kind of funny."
The combine can be a burden for many prospects, who go through a set of positional workouts in front of a league's worth of coaches and scouts and can also sit through up to eight hours of interviews with team personnel. It's an exhausting process, but Castonzo insisted he enjoyed the whole thing. It really shouldn't be shocking, though, because it doesn't take very long to realize how much he enjoys talking about the game.
"I heard from everybody the combine was going to be so stressful, everyone is going to be tugging them every which way," Castonzo said. "But it was actually a pretty relaxed environment. The interviews were a fun process. I got to talk to some big-time NFL coaches about football, which was a blast really."
After Castonzo left the Senior Bowl in late January, he returned to IMG Academy in Florida to train for the combine. He had to alter things a bit as he continued to wind down from his senior season and a quick turnaround for the all-star game.
Castonzo focused more on short-area quickness, becoming more explosive and better hip placement — keeping them low in order to better drive through his blocks. He also had to prepare for drills like the 40-yard dash.
Castonzo wasn't limited to field drills, though. The trainers at IMG worked him through a "game on" session that prepared him for interviews with the coaches, scouts and media. He said they didn't coach him on what to say during the interview processes, but it was about finding himself in the sessions in order to relay stories and anecdotes that help teams get to know him on a more personal level, which is their goal at the combine.
"I knew more about myself from that program at IMG," Castonzo said. "I was very confident going into the interviews, and I really had nothing to hide. It was actually really fun to talk football with the guys."
Despite the positive feedback he received from teams, he wasn't overly excited with his numbers in the individual drills, but Castonzo's stock remained steady — if not better — when he left Indy. With the Senior Bowl and combine out of the way, Castonzo knew the most difficult part of his pre-draft process was behind him, but he still worked to maintain a consistent level of intensity in his training.
"I felt like I left everything I had out there and did the best that I could," Castonzo said. "That's all I could have asked from myself."
Check back Thursday to learn how Castonzo’s workouts changed prior to his BC pro day and which NFLcoach impressed him the most.
Monday: Castonzo took care of business early to give himself the opportunity to focus solely on football as a senior at BC.
Tuesday: Castonzo solidified himself as a first-round pick at the Senior Bowl. Afterward, his masseuse likened him to a car accident victim.