49ers Pick No. 221: Cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State
Tariq Castro-Fields is a bit of an enigma in terms of where he should be as a prospect, but this is precisely the sort of gamble I love to see in the final rounds.
Castro-Fields was seen as a Day 2 selection in the preseason, and if he had a big final season at Penn State, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility he could have snuck into Thursday night as a first-round pick. Instead, he had a very poor final season with the Nittany Lions, and we’ve seen him fall way down the board.
Castro-Fields has some obvious limitations with his game. He isn’t a ballhawk, having no interceptions the past two seasons (albeit with the 2020 season interrupted with only three games played by Castro-Fields), and he’s a very poor tackler. As a 23-year-old rookie, it’s safe to ask how much growing he has left as a prospect too.
But there is a lot to like about Castro-Fields as a potential steal. He continues the trend in this draft class of being a speedy prospect with a 4.38 40-yard time, he plays fast and he’s good in run support.
His limitation with his speed, however, is he isn’t very good, athletically, despite the speed. And his change of direction is below par.
I like his tenacity and willingness to play any role asked of him, however, so maybe he can carve out a role on special teams while the 49ers try to develop him.
With his lack of athleticism, though, he could maybe consider a move to safety.