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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - McCallan Castles

by Ryan Myers


Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics.


At Draft Nation, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.


Today’s Spotlight - Tennessee, TE, McCallan Castles


Name - McCallan Castles

Pos - TE

Team - Tennessee

HT/WT - 6’5” 252 lbs.

Home - South Lake Tahoe, CA


McCallan Castles is a tight end from Lake Tahoe, California. He played his high school football at South Tahoe High School. In his final two seasons at South Tahoe, he totaled 102 catches for 2,027 yards and 27 touchdowns. This earned Castles 4-star recruit ratings from ESPN and 247Sports, and a 3-star rating from Rivals.com. He chose to attend Cal over offers from Utah, Arizona State, Oregon State, and several more.


Castles spent two seasons at Cal out of high school, playing in just 4 games, and making just one catch. He redshirted in his first season to retain eligibility. He then decided to transfer to UC Davis heading into his third season of college ball. 


In his first season with UC Davis, Castles started all 5 games during the shortened COVID season. He finished the year with 12 receptions for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns. This performance earned him an All-Big Sky Conference selection in his first season in the conference. Over his next two seasons with UC Davis, he started 23 games, hauling in 57 receptions for 734 yards and 6 touchdowns, and earning himself two All-Big Sky Second Team selections. 


After his time at UC Davis, Castles decided to continue his college career, heading into 2023 as a grad transfer. He decided to play at Tennessee in his sixth year. This season, he was able to play every game, and make 22 receptions for 283 yards and 5 touchdowns. 


The strengths of Castles’ game are his athleticism, hands and his abilities in contested catches. He shows great route running ability, and soft hands. His only drop issues are when he is running a route, which brings him back to the QB such as a short curl route. However, his athleticism and quickness give him good run-after-catch potential. He plays with good balance and footwork, allowing him to battle with defenders while holding his ground and staying upright. He is comfortable playing in traffic and is not afraid of contact as he uses his 6’5” frame and physicality to win 50/50 balls.


The main downsides to Castles’ game are his ability against press coverage and creating separation. He tends to be sluggish off the line against press coverages, as he takes a while to fight through initial contact with the defender. This keeps him at the line of scrimmage for longer than expected and throws off his routes, causing drops and timing issues. He also lacks the straight-line speed and agility to create separation on routes, which leads to an increased number of throws forced through tight coverage, and inconsistent routes. He may be comfortable in traffic, but it is important for pass catchers to show the ability to create separation.


Strengths

  • Athleticism

  • Quickness

  • Hands

  • Run Blocking


Weaknesses

  • Press Coverage

  • Ability to Create Separation

  • Pass Blocking


Final Analysis


Castles has soft hands but tends to have drop issues when returning to the line on routes such as short curls. He tends to struggle at times when asked to block in the passing game. Longer plays result in eventual breakdowns for Castles while blocking on the edge, which is why he is mainly used as a pass-catcher rather than a pass-blocker. 


Draft Nation Draft Prediction - 6th Round or 7th Round

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