Six-Word Scouting Report: Retro chic Lombardi-style pulling guard.
Strengths: Blocking on the move, leverage, finishing.
Weaknesses: Size-Power, footwork.
Guards are the bass guitarists of the offensive line. Left tackles are the strutting front men. Centers are the brainy creative element. Right tackles are hard-hitting drummers. Guards are indispensable, yet they are easy to overlook, and somewhat interchangeable. Bill Wyman was one of the greatest bass players in history, but the Rolling Stones replaced him with a session musician 20 years ago, and "Gimmie Shelter" sounds just as good live now as it did in 1991, which is to say, about one-tenth as good as it sounded in 1971.
This draft marks the triumphant return of the guard as difference maker. DeCastro is a superb technician, like Jon Entwistle or James Jamerson. Cordy Glenn of Georgia is more like Lemmy Kilmister, ready to pummel the world into a rumbling submission. Kevin Zeitler of Wisconsin is smooth and precise like early Sting. Washington's Senio Kelemete is fiery and energetic like Geezer Butler. It's time to stop before someone gets compared to Tina Weymouth.
DeCastro's strength is his ability to block on the move. He pulls out quickly to lead sweeps, can slip behind fellow linemen to trap block, and has quick feet in pass protection. One of the hardest elements of pull blocking is knowing what to do when you turn the corner and see three defenders closing on your running back, but DeCastro understands blocking schemes and chooses the right opponent to hit. Once he engages, DeCastro stays locked to his defender.
Those were great attributes for a guard to have for most of football history, but pull-blocking techniques have fallen out of favor in the pass-happy modern N.F.L.The Steelers are more of a drive blocking team, but they cannot be choosy when a lineman of DeCasto's caliber slides down the draft board. The Steelers allowed 42 sacks last year, and no lineman was healthy enough to start more than 14 games.
How many people had him as their #1?
Last edited by SanAntonioSteelerFan; 04-27-2012 at 08:29 AM.
We got our "6-PACK" - time to work on a CASE!
HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!
Love these quotes:
“He is so serious he sometimes thinks a high five after a touchdown is too frivolous because it might break concentration,” Luck recalled.
But this is a guard at heart — a nasty, football-obsessed, grinder with the mentality required to make 10 straight Pro Bowls.
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.
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.
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.
I NEVER would have been that patient...I would have been the phone trying to trade up for most of the first round! It's still mind-boggling that they got him without having to move at all. Simply INCONCEIVABLE!!!
Originally Posted by kindlecatsb'ng
It was a relief when I woke up this morning and heard the DeCastro to the Steelers at #24 confirmation on the radio, because I was worried it might have been a dream (or someone slipped a hallucinagen in my burger last night).
If I may quickly digress: before we get to the Steelers' near highway robbery of Stanford guard David DeCastro, NFL.com is already posting a second round mock based on last night's results. They have the Steelers taking big Brandon Thompson, DT from Clemson. A possible Casey Hampton successor, as per his scouting report. As is Alameda Ta'amu from Washington or Josh Chapman from Alabama, both day two possibilities. Some food for thought that will be addressed later today.
Also, a quick thought: Scores of mock drafts had the Bengals -- also badly in need of a guard -- taking DeCastro at no. 15. Instead they took talented CB Dre Kirkpatrick with that pick. The Bengals then traded their no. 21 pick to New England, helping to pave the way for DeCastro to be available for Pittsburgh at no. 24. Cincinnati still got a potentially excellent guard at no. 27 in Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin, a guy that many mocks had the Steelers taking. So the Steelers steal of DeCastro is directly linked with their divisional 'who dey' foe, which is having a very nice draft thus far.
OK, back to David DeCastro pick analysis, with some pre-draft scouting reports mixed in. Key points: multiple comparisons to Maurkice Pouncey, Alan Faneca's name dropped as well, plus predictions for him to be an immediate starter ... [note: DeCastro will be introduced to the Pittsburgh sporting public via a 3 p.m. press conference today at Steelers HQ]
*ESPN's Jameson Hensley: "It looks like the Steelers' strong run in the first round will continue after they selected Stanford's David DeCastro. This was either a case of good fortune or the fact that teams don't value guards. No one predicted DeCastro to the Steelers because he wasn't expected to make it out of the top 20. ... DeCastro is a big, physical and nasty offensive lineman who turns a mediocre offensive line into a stronger one."
*A short piece from the Seattle Times, comparing DeCastro to Steve Hutchinson. No faint praise there. According to his wikipedia page, the suburban Seattle native was a huge Seahawks fan who idolized Hutchinson and compared himself as a player to Hutchinson and Alan Faneca.
*During Hutchinson's conference call with Pittsburgh media, he said that he rooted against the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. "Now I'm the biggest Steelers fan there is," DeCastro said. No doubt he'll get over any lingering cognitive dissonance from this once the first check clears.
*Video excerpts of Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert's press conference on DeCastro last night.
*NFL.com (full analysis): "The top rated guard by the network of the league. "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."
*USA Today: "Folks in the Steel City will love DeCastro. Not only does he solidify an often suspect O-line, he plays with a nasty demeanor and should elicit memories of longtime all-pro Alan Faneca. ... DeCastro and C MaurkicePouncey should be a formidable interior duo for the next decade and receive a lot of thank-you dinners from QB BenRoethlisbeger along the way.
*Josh Katzowitz of CBS has the Steelers as a day one winner: Pittsburgh didn't have to do anything, and the guy who will fit in nicely with the team fell directly into a Steelers uniform. That'd be Stanford guard David DeCastro. Draft analysis Rob Rang had him ranked as the sixth-best prospect overall -- though there was no chance a guard would go that high -- but now that he's in Pittsburgh and playing next to Maurkice Pouncey, that will be a tough wall for a defender to penetrate.
*CBS's analysis of DeCastro: "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."
*Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated says the Steelers pick was a no-brainer, who destroys opponents and annihilates linebackers.
*Andrew Byrne of SI says: "The Steelers have a habit of making un-sexy picks in the draft, and that strategy has worked brilliantly for them over the years. Pittsburgh's offensive line has struggled since losing All-World guard Alan Faneca after the 2007 season and DeCastro has the potential to be an earth-moving interior lineman in his mold."
*Here is SI's scouting report of DeCastro.
*DC Times Scouting the Draft blog: "DeCastro figures to go near the middle of the first round. I’ve long discussed why offensive guards are extremely undervalued in the draft, as they are vital to the success of an offense (as you saw in Dallas this season), but the premiere players at the position rarely go in the first half of the first round. Since the “Moneyball” era of valuing players has crept into the NFL, guards have consistently offered the most bang for the buck."
*NBC's Pro Football Talk: "DeCastro fits Pittsburgh’s mentality on the offensive line. He is a beastly run blocker at 6-foot-5, 316, and was one of college football’s most decorated linemen. ... DeCastro garnered first-team All-American honors in 2011. He started 39 career games at Stanford, never missing a game and earning All-Pac 12 accolades each year. DeCastro will start at right guard in Week One for the Steelers."
*National Football Post: "The best offensive line prospect I've evaluated since Maurkice Pouncey in 2010. He showcases the ability to get a push in-line and is a dominant move player as well. He's fluid/natural in pass protection and with a little more power in his base he's got the skill set to become on of the leagues best guards early in his NFL career."
*Mocking the Draft: "The rich get richer. The Pittsburgh Steelers take advantage of a wild first round and pick up a blue chip guard that will start right away by drafting Stanford's David DeCastro ... DeCastro is one of the elite players in this draft class, but positional value causes him to slide down the board in this draft. The Steelers can't complain, because they have a massive need for interior offensive linemen. DeCastro will start from day one and become a big part of this offense ..."
*The NFL Network's Charlie Casserly says he loves the DeCastro pick and says he's better than Alan Faneca was as a draft pick (no link, just saw that on the tee-vee) and was one of the top value picks of the first round.
*According to this, DeCastro had a pretty high Wonderlic score. But its from a college football message board, so that's a suspect source. But it's worth mentioning that he went to Stanford, among the most elite universities in the country. Football factory of late or not, they don't just admit anyone there.
*Here are a bunch of quick videos on DeCastro that I posted last night:
Also lots of video at the end...