Obviously i was overjoyed when the Steelers were able to pluck the best guard in the draft when they nabbed Stanford’s David DeCastro with the 24th overall pick. Watching this guy on film was sheer fun, and i could picture in my mind’s eye Steelers Boss Hogg, Sean Kugler, doing the burrito dance after David was still available.
While talking over the draft on Thursday morning with Tunch Ilkin, the Turk had pointed out that there were no pure guards on the Steelers roster. Ramon Foster was a tackle in college, as was Chris Scott and the Bronko, Doug Legursky a center. So DeCastro becomes the first “pure” guard.
One of the things that immediately becomes apparent on tape is that DeCastro plays well within himself. He’s not found too often laying on the turf after locking horns but has the unique ability to stay locked up and move his feet on contact rather than disengaging from the lower body after a gi-normous hit.
DeCastro finished his career with a remarkable 316 Cheesewhoppers (or knockdowns in laymans terms) which tells you that this dude has a finisher attitude. When he pulls on the S&D (search and destroy) he inevitably makes the right read and has a knack for posturing up and getting leverage on the hit.
Kevin Colbert says DeCastro has a grip that could make a pair of pliers wince.
Another stat that jumped out at me was DeCastro set a conference record with an incredible 96.88% grade for blocking consistency. That tells you immediately that this young man is a student of the game and takes his job seriously. Those numbers harken back to another era when my former teammate Mike Webster routinely graded out in the high 90’s, though “Iron Mike” did it in the pros not college.
One more gem on this guy. His senior year he did not give up a sack. That’s right, a bagel in the sack column. If he can duplicate close to those numbers in the pros as he did in college the sky is the limit.
Obviously there’s a lot of work ahead, but everybody that i saw at the Steelers Worldwide Headquarters on the Southside was wearing a big o’l smile after the DeCastro pick was announced. More fun coming this way over the weekend!