DeCastro Scouting Report Write-Ups
The Shutdown 50 — #10: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Posted by admin on April 25, 2012 in extreme, Football, mma, NFL · 0 Comment
With the 2011 NFL season in the books, it’s time to turn our eyes to the NFL draft, and the pre-draft evaluation process. Right up to the draft, we’ll be taking a closer look at the 50 players who may be the biggest NFL difference-makers when all is said and done.
We continue this year’s series with Stanford guard David DeCastro, the second-best prospect in a Cardinal draft class that could see four players go in the first round. He’s not quite as positionally interesting as that Andrew Luck guy, but DeCastro is the best guard prospect in a number of years — at least the best since Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey and quite possibly the best since Michigan’s Steve Hutchinson. It’s rare that you see an offensive line prospect this pro-ready right out of the chute — DeCastro said at the scouting combine that when he watches former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh dial up plays for the San Francisco 49ers, he can call the plays before they happen.
A technical marvel — he almost never loses ground because he’s so textbook in his approach — DeCastro also has the kind of attitude all coaches love in offensive linemen. “He arrives angry and focused and expects everybody else to be the same,” current Stanford head coach David Shaw recently said. “If he thinks something needs to be said, he says it and when he speaks the players listen.”
“He is so serious he sometimes thinks a high five after a touchdown is too frivolous because it might break concentration,” Luck recalled. “But the person he is hardest on is himself.” That may be true, but DeCastro was also known to be the one teammate able and willing to bust Luck’s chops in the huddle if things weren’t going well.
He gave up one sack in his entire college career, and it was easy to get the recall when he was asked about it at the combine. “Brian Price of UCLA,” he remembered. “I set outside and he came back and countered inside. He sacked Andrew.”
It won’t happen often, no matter who DeCastro is protecting; he allowed just 14 tackles of any kind in 2011. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, DeCastro started all 13 games and finished the season as an honorable mention on the All Pac-10 team. It’s been all uphill from there, proving that DeCastro doesn’t just arrive angry — he also arrives ready to dominate. There’s no reason to think that it won’t be the same in the NFL, right from Day One.
Pros: DeCastro is the most fundamentally sound collegiate guard I have ever watched extensively on tape. He does everything required of him at an extremely high or elite level. He uses his hands with force and authority, his footwork is superlative, he pulls and traps well enough to play in the NFL right now, he hits the second level quickly, and he blows up his targets when he gets there. Perhaps the most impressive — and at times astounding — aspect of his play is his pulling ability. Your average guard is lauded for pulling with consistency to the next gap on either side, but DeCastro will regularly pull from the right guard position and actually seal the edge on run plays outside of left tackle. The speed, agility, technique, and power required to do that puts DeCastro in rarefied air.
In zone blocking, DeCastro gets in his stance quickly and always looks to chip or pop the man at the closest gap if he doesn’t have a man right on him. Once he gets momentum on a zone slide, he’s not only hard to beat, he can make ends and linebackers look just silly at times by blasting them out to one side. Does a tremendous job of checking off to second targets when facing stunts, loops, and advanced blitz concepts. Elite two-defender blocker — he’s great on chips inside (reminds me of the underrated Chris Kuper here) and will peel off with great speed to help tackles maintain position on edge rushers. Will push off his initial blocker to the tackle and zap a linebacker in space pretty frequently. Keeps his head on a swivel and operates with minimal wasted movement. Blocks as well on an island as any guard you’ll see on any level — rarely do you see him need help to a gap on either side. Uses technique and agility to deal with rip, swim, and spin moves — redirects after first contact and a quick move very well. Primary zone blocker who could learn to mash every play in a man-on-man system — has what it takes to be truly scheme-transcendent.
Cons: DeCastro and Luck are the two players in this draft class that present the fewest obvious dings when you watch them on tape. But if there’s one thing that I would like to see DeCastro do more often (and this comes up in a comparative sense, because people are already comparing him to Steve Hutchinson and Steve Wisniewski), it’s to play with extreme power when he’s handling bigger linemen.
He gets by at times more on fundamentals than pure power, but again, we’re splitting hairs here — I’m lining him up next to Hutchinson, who was the most functionally powerful guard I’ve ever seen when he was in his prime. DeCastro will get walked back in the pocket by bigger men, but he almost never loses contact and you never see him get fast-out beaten by pure speed or power.
Conclusion: You’ll hear some say that DeCastro would provide more value to a team as a center, a position he’s also able to play. I also believe that he would be an excellent right tackle in certain systems. But this is a guard at heart — a nasty, football-obsessed, grinder with the mentality required to make 10 straight Pro Bowls. Just as it is with Trent Richardson this year, certain players force you to throw away the idea of positional value in a strict sense and simply deal with the explosions on tape.
DeCastro is a safe player in every positive sense, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that his game tape is a good way to cure insomnia. Connoisseurs of great offensive line play are already clued in, and the opponents of the offense DeCastro plays for at the NFL level will soon get the message. Sitton is the best offensive lineman on his team at the right guard position, which seems to personify a trend that has a lot of teams going more right-handed with their offensive line talent. I don’t automatically see a switch to left guard for DeCastro as a result, but in a way, it doesn’t really matter where he plays. He’s already set the bar ridiculously high, and he’s only going to get better.
Pro Comparison: Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers
Drafted By: Steelers
Mayock's take: "He's a natural Pittsburgh Steeler. He's a plug-and-play guard. The Steelers have had all kinds of problems up front, and this kid fits in Pittsburgh."
32 3/8" Arm Length
DeCastro is an extremely polished guard out of Stanford who started for three consecutive years. While he is considered an early entry junior, he spent four years at Stanford and has already graduated. He is a disciplined and NFL-ready player who likely will warrant a starting spot immediately through his play. He could be one of the highest draft picks at the guard position in recent years, and he could easily go in the top 10.
DeCastro is a technician on the field and is beautiful to watch for those who respect offensive line play. He is very quick off the ball to get into his block. DeCastro is able to shuffle nicely to avoid trash when pulling or down blocking. Once engaged, he is very strong to his ground. He demonstrates a good snap upon contact with defenders and is usually the one providing the drive-back pressure on his man. Once locked on his man, he can drive and maneuver them at will using his very strong upper body. DeCastro is extremely controlled in his movements, and he has body control and overall balance that is rare for a man his size. DeCastro is very athletic on the move and can key in and adjust well on his moving target. It's nearly impossible to find many weak points in DeCastro's play throughout college, and he could easily be the best lineman on his team as a rookie.
DeCastro is inconsistent when finishing run blocks downfield. There were times in 2011 when he would fall off his blocks at times -- although never an effort issue, there are some slight hitches in his bending and footwork downfield that cause him to fall off slightly. He is not a violent puncher with his hands, but he doesn't necessarily need to acquire that trait because he is such a technician.
Offensive Guard | Stanford | JR
Height: 6-4⅞ | Weight: 316 | 40-Time: 5.43
• Possesses prototypical size and bulk
• Terrific strength and plays with power
• Aggressive and plays w/ nasty demeanor
• Gets an excellent push in the run game
• Stout at the point to anchor in pass pro
• Mobile enough to pull and work in space
• Is polished and utilizes sound technique
• Smart with nice instincts and awareness
• Extremely tough and was very durable
• Competitive w/ great work ethic and drive
• Lots of experience versus top competition
• Average athleticism, agility, quickness
• Does not physically dominate opponents
• Tends to reach and lose balance at times
• Does not have ideal arm length (32¾)
• Overall upside may be relatively limited
• None of Consequence
A three-year starter for the Cardinal --- Named 1st Team All-Pac-10/12 in 2010 and 2011 --- A consensus All-American in 2011 --- Started 39 consecutive games at right guard --- Also won a state champion in the shot put in high school --- A well-rounded, blue-collar blocker with an ideal blend of physical tools and intangibles who profiles as an immediate starter and perennial Pro Bowler at the next level --- One of the best offensive guard prospects to come along in recent years and has drawn favorable comparisons to everyone from Alan Faneca to Steve Hutchinson --- Projects as a legitimate Top 15-20 overall pick.
NFL Player Comparison:Steve Hutchinson
Some clips from his 2010 season. Sometimes it's hard to see a OL's impact (especially a G). But he is very apparent.
2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
24. David DeCastro, G, Stanford: A+ Grade
Unbelievable. The Steelers somehow land a guy who could be the top guard in the NFL over the next decade. David DeCastro could have gone as high as No. 11. It's really amazing how smart organizations like Pittsburgh can take advantage of dumb teams making stupid decisions year after year. This is the best pick of the 2012 NFL Draft thus far.
David DeCastro, 6-5/310
David DeCastro Scouting Report
By Charlie Campbell
Elite run blocker
Powerful drive blocker
Great at pulling
Hits blocks on second level of defense
Mobile and athletic
Great technique with hand placement
Textbook knee bend
Rock-solid pass protector
Proven leader; passion for the game
Winner at collegiate level
Durable, experienced 3-year starter
Was not challenged by good group of pass-rushers
Summary: David DeCastro has been a dominant force for Stanford the past few years. He has been Stanford's featured run blocker, as they averaged 213.8 yards on the ground in 2010 and 208 yards per game this season. Last year he was a second-team All-American and moved up to the first-team in 2011. DeCastro is fabulous at pulling and setting the edge. He can drive block and ride defenders around the field. DeCastro is quick and gets upfield to hit blocks on linebackers. He also is very effective on screen plays. He is a pure road-grader on the ground.
In pass protection, DeCastro slides well. Bull rushes are completely ineffective as he has a strong base and anchors with ease. With his quickness and athleticism to fire back, quick three-technique pass-rushers struggle against DeCastro.
DeCastro only had a few reps this year against Washington's massive defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu, but DeCastro won all of the reps. Stanford ran for 446 yards in the game.
Player Comparison: Steve Hutchinson. Hutchinson has been one of the best guards in the NFL over the past decade and justified being a top-20 pick. Both DeCastro and Hutchinson are well-rounded players. Hutchinson has been a fabulous run blocker and solid pass protector. DeCastro looks like he should be a similar player at the next level.
DeCastro looks like a mid first-round pick just like Hutchinson. In the 2001 NFL Draft, Hutchinson was the 17th-overall pick by the Seahawks. DeCastro should go in the same range this year.
NFL Matches: Tennessee, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, New York Giants
DeCastro can fit any blocking scheme. He has the mobility to be a zone blocker and the power to execute in a power-man blocking scheme. The latter might be his best fit. All of the five teams listed above are candidates to take DeCastro.
Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak wants better run blocking and DeCastro would be a perfect fit for the Titans. The Bears need help along their offensive line, and DeCastro will appeal to Mike Tice. Chicago and Tennessee could be the most likely landing spots for DeCastro as they will pick ahead of the other three teams in the first round.
Detroit could improve their line if they can land DeCastro. He would be an upgrade over Stephen Peterman. The Bengals have two first-round picks and have a need at guard, but DeCastro may not make it to their first pick. The Giants have a lot of veterans and could use some youth on the inside of their line.
I sweated these two spots the most.
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
I thought bringing DeCastro in to Tennesee, learning along side Hutch and under Munchak... Munchak remembering his days with Bruce Matthews... would've made sense.
And DET because they are DET.
And once he did make it past 23, I WAS REALLY SCARED that we'd pass him up. I would be cursing like a sailor still if that happened.
The few "negative" plays that were shown were still better than a Chris Kemoeatu "positives" reel (if there ever was such a thing).
Originally Posted by Shoe
04/26/2012 - ROB RANG'S TOP 50 PLAYERS OF THE 2012 NFL DRAFT: 6. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford*: In terms of consistent dominance, there hasn't been an offensive or defensive lineman I've graded higher thus far this season than DeCastro. Only the fact that he plays guard may keep him out of the top half of the first round. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
Some NFL scouts believe Stanford guard David DeCastro may be an even better interior line prospect than Maurkice Pouncey of Florida, who was drafted 18th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Coaches and teammates believe DeCastro's serious attitude and penchant for perfection were as important as his innate physical abilities in making him as good as he is. "He arrives angry and focused and expects everybody else to be the same," said Stanford Coach David Shaw. "If he thinks something needs to be said, he says it and when he speaks the players listen." "He is so serious he sometimes thinks a high five after a touchdown is too frivolous because it might break concentration," offered Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. "But the person he is hardest on is himself." Sure enough, after earning nothing but praise and honors for the last three seasons at Stanford, DeCastro's most vivid memory is one play as a redshirt freshman in 2009. It was The Sack -- the only one he gave up in his college career. "Brian Price of UCLA," DeCastro recited. "I set outside and he came back and countered inside. He sacked Andrew." Scouts think DeCastro's serious attitude and penchant for perfection will work well for him, especially packaged with his size, strength, quickness and ornery attitude on the field. It also helped that he flourished in a pro-style offense at Stanford, where he not only pass blocked for Luck, but was a key reason the Cardinal rushing game was one of the best in college football. Although his father and grandfather were both rugby stars in South Africa, DeCastro credits his size and study habits to his mother, Jennifer, who is taller than six-feet and has three degrees, including a Ph.D. in audiolgy. Still, DeCastro admits that although he loves academics he "hates to read," unless it is a playbook. Based on projections for his near future, that may be all he needs to read.
Pass blocking: Doesn't get beat. Has enough of an anchor and resets hands to get leverage if beaten initially. Keeps feet churning and his head up. Capable of blocking down with one hand and sliding to help tackle. Very aware of late blitzers, can stonewall them or ride them out of the pocket. Usually keeps arms extended in pass pro to maintain distance with his man. Loses the hand-to-hand battle occasionally but works to quickly counter.
Run blocking: Excels as a run blocker in power, zone and on the move. Plays with his eyes up. Takes defenders to the ground and doesn't let up. Rarely allows defenders to sidestep. Not dominant as a drive blocker but grinds to the whistle. Defensive tackles with elite power can anchor or move him off the snap.
Pulling/trapping: Dominant leading on pulls outside and traps inside. Reaches second level instantly, has natural bend and flexibility to get correct angle. Does not always dominate smaller defenders after initial contact, falling off instead of latching on, but can take out multiple targets when he squares. Will miss inside target on occasion, giving max effort to cut or reach the linebacker.
Initial Quickness: Very good off the snap. Gets hands up immediately, rarely beaten with an initial pass-rush move. Swims to reach second-level defenders. Generates push in goal-line situations, firing off hard and low.
Downfield: Has enough -- but not great -- speed. Very effective negating targets seven or eight yards downfield. Inconsistent sustaining blocks against powerful linebackers and defensive backs, lowering his head to easily be disengaged.
Intangibles: Solid work ethic and character. Known for his work on the practice field and weight room. Durable; could play every snap in any scheme. Chose Stanford for its academic standards.
Ruth--when I look at the pic of David DeCastro you posted in your sig, Mike Webster flashes into my mind!
Really nice write up in Trib on David DeCastro.
After reading this article, our front office are "men of Steel" in patience/strategy for not trading up to get him!