There’s reason for excitement on Chestnut Hill as the Eagles return a competitive team, which includes two highly rated prospects from both sides of the line of scrimmage.  Here’s a breakdown of the next level players from Boston College, including breaking news on several of their stars.

Offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo received high grades from the scouting services and is ranked as the premiere left tackle prospect in the senior class.  Castonzo quickly gets into blocks, keeps his feet moving and is a solid pass protector that shows the ability to slide out off the edge.  He’s a solid position blocker that makes good use of angles and fights throughout the action.  Castonzo is mechanically sound and has a long, lean build and the ability to add bulk to his frame.  When we watch Castonzo there’s no wow factor on film, the way there was with guys like Russell O’Kung last season.  We think he’s a terrific developmental prospect yet not a sure thing.  Evidently Castonzo’s camp thinks otherwise as sources have told us his “handlers” are telling people the tackle will be a “guaranteed” top five pick next year.

One line prospect we feel does not get the attention he deserves is guard Thomas Claiborne.  Explosive off the snap, Claiborne easily turns defenders off the line and is very strong at the point.  Claiborne bends his knees, gets leverage on opponents and jolts defenders with terrific hand punch.  In many ways he reminds us of former Eagles lineman Josh Beekman, the fourth round pick of the Chicago Bears who’s started 20 games the past two years.  Unfortunately Claiborne relies almost solely on natural ability and as a source close to the program has told us, he just “goes through the motions”.  Claiborne shows little to no drive, spends little time in the weight room, film room and has been labeled as lazy.  It’s too bad as there’s a lot of talent available if Claiborne applies himself.

The program has three other linemen with NFL potential.

Sophomore Emmett Cleary flashes ability as a position blocker, easily adjusts to defenders but must also add strength to his frame.

Junior Nathan Richman is a tall lineman who blocks with solid fundamentals and shows good quickness and explosion is his game.  He must also improve his strength and balance but has an upside.

Senior Rich Lapham is a strong, small area blocker that knocks defenders off the ball and seals them from the action at right tackle.

Junior running back Montel Harris possesses terrific running instincts, vision and is a creative runner that makes several defenders miss during the course of a single run.  Harris runs low to the ground and shows a lot of toughness in his game yet lacks breakaway speed.

Defensively, everything centers around the return of linebacker Mark Herzlich.  Herzlich blew us away from his 2006 film as he was a defender who showed great force up the field then eventually grew into a complete linebacker.  His story is well documented and we dare say everyone is rooting for Herzlich’s successful return to the field this season.  But what of his next level potential and grade?

Sources have told us they just don’t know at this point as much depends on how Herzlich’s leg responds to the constant punishment of the college season.

The concern is not for the area where the rod was inserted into Herzlich’s leg after the tumor was removed.  Rather the immediate bone underneath the rod.  The strength and integrity of that bone could be compromised- then again it could be alright.  It is a wait and see situation right now.

As far as where NFL teams project Herzlich; its’ anyone’s guess at this point until the medical staffs around the league get hold of his medical records.

Without a doubt it will be a treat to see Herzlich on the field this year and, with no rooting interest other than the human side of this story, we are hoping for the best.

Boston College Pro-Prospects

Round Full Name Pos NumberYear
1-2Anthony CastonzoT744Sr
3rdMark HerzlichOLB945Sr
5-6Montel HarrisRB23Jr
6-7Thomas ClaiborneG785Sr
FADonnie FletcherCB43Jr
FANathan RichmanG754Jr
FAEmmett ClearyG773So
FARich LaphamT665Sr
FARoderick RollinsCB205Sr
FADeLeon GauseCB94Sr
FAAlex AlbrightDEx5Sr
FAWes DavisS455Sr
FAChris FoxWR425Sr