The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft starts tonight. All 32 teams are putting their final touches on their draft boards which includes a long list of prospects who could be signed after the draft.
Defensive tackle Castro Masaniai from Oregon State is an intriguing prospect who could be selected late in the draft or signed following the conclusion of it.
The Chicago Bears might be one of those teams interested in making a play for the 6’3″, 354 lb defensive tackle.
The 24-year old Masaniai racked up 40 tackles, three sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss in his career with the Beavers.
He made a career-high five tackles and 1.5 sacks in a road loss against Washington last season.
Unfortunately for Masaniai he dealt with season-ending injuries during sophomore and junior seasons. A shoulder injury ended his sophomore season midway through the year, while a leg injury during his junior season allowed him to play in only five games.
“Both of those injuries were tough because I wanted to be able to help my team out and I just felt like there was nothing I could do. I was able to recover and it just helped me to be more focused and driven to play harder and have a successful senior season.”
He dealt with another problem during his junior season. This time it was an off the field incident with the law and he was suspended one game by the team.
“That was a hard time for me, but the entire experience made me a better person. I’m grateful that my coaches believed in me and gave me a second chance. I wanted to make them proud and prove that their faith in me was warranted by playing the best I could.”
He is very excited about his shot at the NFL. He started playing football during his freshman year of high school playing as an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman.
“I’m looking forward to being able to continue playing football and competing against the best.”
He believes his biggest strength is “plugging holes and stopping the run.” He takes pride in his run defense. His biggest weakness is “being consistent with pass rush.”
He thoroughly enjoys playing the defensive tackle position.
“My favorite thing about playing DT is the challenge that comes with it. The position is physically demanding and I enjoy going to battle in the trenches.”
His favorite football memory came during his final season at Oregon State.
“My favorite memory of the game would have to be last season’s home opener against Wisconsin. We were up to the challenge and were able to keep Wisconsin and RB Montee Ball under 100 yards rushing, which set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Masaniai played alongside current Bears defensive Stephen Paea during his time at Oregon State. He loves the connection that Polynesian players give one another before and after games.
“I think that the one cool thing about Polynesians is that we all feel a sort of connection due to similar cultures and values and we all kind of root for each other to succeed.”
When it comes to goals in life and the game of football its pretty simple for Masaniai.
“I really want to be able to do something I love and make my family proud, especially my son Isaiah.”
You can follow DT Castro Masaniai on Twitter @manuula98.
Last year’s Bears Backer Pre-Draft interview came with Texas S Blake Gideon. He is currently a member of the Denver Broncos. Congrats to him.