The Pittsburgh Steelers received a gift Thursday night and selected Stanford guard David DeCastro with the 24th pick of the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
DeCastro weighed in at the NFL combine at 6047 and weighed 313 pounds. He has 32 3/4 inch arms to go along with 10 inch hands and a 79 1/8 inch wingspan. He also has just 17.3% body fat according to the scouting report.
DeCastro ran a 5.43 in the 40-yard dash and had a 1.79 10 yard dash time and a 2.96 20 yard dash time. He ran a 4.56 20-yard shuttle, a 7.33 three-cone drill and a 29 1/2-inch vertical jump. He bench pressed 225 pounds 34 times.
Decastro was the first guard off the board in an unusual first round of the draft that featured several trades.
Scouting report via Dave-Te Thomas & Scouting Services & reprinted with permission.
While most regard offensive tackle as the “glamor” position among front wall performers, many talent evaluators feel than an offensive guard – David DeCastro, might be the best blocker among 2012 NFL Draft eligibles. A high intensity type with excellent balance and a strong base, the junior did everything that he could at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine to impress upon teams that he can be an equally dominant player at the next level. Based on the smiles emanating from those that viewed his workout, you can say that it was “mission accomplished” by the Cardinal lineman.
Most professional scouts regard DeCastro as the best interior offensive line prospect they have evaluated, outside of Maurkice Pouncey, since the turn of the century. Coming from Stanford\’s pro-style blocking schemes in which he shows good base strength, feet and athletic ability to go along with a physical, aggressive temperament, DeCastro does a classic job of placing his hands inside and is strong enough to control multiple defenders.
As a trap blocker, DeCastro uses his long arms and hand punch to extends, lock on and gain leverage, doing a nice job of shuffling his feet to mirror when picking up edge rushers or blitzers attacking from the backside. He fires out of his stance low and with excellent explosion to generate movement for what has become a very effective Stanford ground game.
Few linemen possess the mobility and body control to pull and lead through the hole as quick as DeCastro has displayed. While he might occasionally duck his head at times, he has the knee bend and low pad level needed to be a physical force in an offensive power scheme, along with the ability to get into the second level instantly, where he has had tremendous success neutralizing linebackers on traps and pulls.
Stanford head coach David Shaw might be DeCastro’s “biggest fan,” as he has not only enjoyed his performance on the field, but also the tenacity he brings coming out of the huddle, in practices and even in the locker room, where the junior is a “man among boys.”
Shaw joked that the quiet DeCastro “arrived in a bad mood” and had not changed. “David speaks when something needs to be said,” Shaw said. “When he speaks, you better listen.”
Quarterback Andrew Luck unleashes his trademark goofy laugh when recalling that DeCastro often will not reciprocate high-fives in practice and that his on-field intensity carries over to their living quarters, as both were roommates. “He’ll yell at us if we don’t clean up,” Luck said before mocking DeCastro’s deep voice. “At first it’s a gentle reminder, then it’s like, ‘Get it done.’ ”
DeCastro is from the Seattle area but his parents are South African and his father and grandfather were rugby stars in that country. His mother, Jennifer DeCastro, said she is over six-feet tall and took partial credit for her son’s height, which is a shade under 6:05. But his father, Colin DeCastro, said that David’s penchant for numbers — he is majoring in management science and engineering, and acknowledges he “hates to read” — comes from Jennifer, who has three degrees, including a Ph.D. in audiology from Florida.
David DeCastro never played rugby, but he also did not play football until ninth grade. Still, Colin tried to channel a rugby-like intensity into David while coaching his youth teams. Among the keepsakes that Colin DeCastro has from his rugby career are the loss of two front teeth and a scar from a cut on his right eyebrow that required 19 stitches.
“A lot of the pieces of American football fit into the matrix of rugby,” his father said. “Except that football is more specialized.”
The Bellevue High School prospect was an All-State performer on the offensive line, and ranked third in the nation among centers, according to Scout.com. ESPN rated the line-man as the nation’s seventh-best center, while Rivals.com had him ranked eleventh. Super Prep rated him the third-best overall prospect in the state of Washington, with Scout.com and Rivals.com placing him sixth overall in the state.
The Super Prep All-American added All-State honors and was the recipient of the King County Lineman of the Year Award as a senior. The previous season, he helped lead his team to the state title. He went on to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Game following his senior season. DeCastro also competed in track, throwing shot put, an event where he captured the 2008 Washington State 3A champion with a throw of 59-3. He also won the district (58-4) and the King County 3A League (58-1 ½) titles, as well. The lineman graduated with a 4.06 grade point average.
DeCastro was often mentioned as a poor-man\’s Steve Schilling – a nod to the Michigan player that wore 52 before David at Bellevue High School – but that\’s doing DeCastro a disservice. He has exceptional feet like Schilling, and can run like Schilling – but that\’s where the comparisons end.
DeCastro is more physically overpowering than Schilling, along with being more versatile. His hand quickness could see the Cardinal shift to center one day at the pro level. He\’s smart enough to call all blocking assignments and his body type gives him the ability to play any position on the line. “I\’m intelligent and responsible,” DeCastro noted. “I take care of my assignments. I have quick footwork and am very athletic for my size. I want to improve my upper body strength. It\’s always good to be stronger. I want to improve my agility a bit more too.”
DeCastro signed his national letter-of-intent to attend Stanford on December 7th, 2007. He was also offered scholarships from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State. He arrived on campus, only to red-shirt in 2008. Rather than bide his time, the lineman put in the “extra” hours in Stanford’s renowned training room.
DeCastro’s body transformation was drastic. His weight has jumped from 295 to 315 while his body fat has decreased more than four percent to 17.3. His vertical jump increased a remarkable seven inches to 29 ½. Even though he had yet to play in a college football game, he boasted some of the best strength numbers on the team, as he could bench 225 pounds 35 times, which would have been first among offensive linemen at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine.
DeCastro joined Jonathan Martin as the two red-shirt freshman to take over starting jobs on the Stanford front wall in 2009. Lining up at right guard, where he started all thirteen games, DeCastro earned All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention. He delivered 79 knockdowns and seventeen touchdown-resulting blocks (most among the league’s interior linemen) as the Cardinal ranked 11th nationally in rushing (218.23 ypg), 19th in total offense (427.62 ypg) and 11th in scoring (35.46 ypg).
As a sophomore, DeCastro earned All-American second-team honors and was an All-Pac 10 first-team choice while starting all thirteen games at right guard. His blocking consistency grade of 90.15% was the highest ever recorded (since grades were kept in 1985) of any Cardinal lineman in a season. He registered 99 knockdowns with twenty touchdown-resulting blocks, as he led a strong front wall that ranked second in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (six). His pass blocking saw Stanford improve from 70th in the nation (209.38) the previous season to 29th in 2010, averaging 258.69 aerial yards per game.
DeCastro was a near unanimous All-American first-team choice as a senior, in addition to receiving All-Pac 12 Conference first-team recognition. He broke his own school season-record with a 96.88% grade for blocking consistency, the highest mark ever recorded by a conference lineman.
That grade was the result of the right guard delivering 138 knockdowns and 31 touch-down- resulting blocks. Only Kevin Zeitler of Wisconsin (33) had more touchdown-resulting blocks by a major college lineman in 2011. Prior to the Cardinal meeting Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, DeCastro announced he was leaving school to enter his name in the 2012 NFL Draft pool.
DeCastro started all 39 games he played in at right offensive guard for the Stanford Cardinal…Finished his stellar career with 316 knockdowns, 68 touchdown-resulting blocks and a blocking consistency grade of 91.63%…His grade of 96.88% in 2011 was the highest mark by any offensive lineman (since consistency grades were kept in 1985) in Pac-12 (10) Conference history.
DeCastro was a first-team All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News, American Football Coaches Association and Football Writers Association…Named National Blocker of the Year by The NFL Draft Report, as DeCastro set the conference season-record with a 96.88% grade for blocking consistency…The All-Pac 12 Conference first-team choice and Outland Trophy finalist registered career-bests with 31 touchdown-resulting blocks (second-highest in the major college ranks) while recording 138 knockdowns…Behind his stellar blocking, the front wall allowed just eleven quarterback sacks, but none were charged to DeCastro, who held his blocking assignments to a nation-low total of fourteen tackles (6 solos), no sacks, no pressures and no stops behind the line of scrimmage…Had at least ten knockdowns in nine games and received a perfect grade for blocking consistency (100%) twice – vs. Colorado and Washington…Stanford\’s 57-3 season-opening victory over San Jose State was the result of DeCastro making three touchdown-resulting blocks and twelve knockdowns, including one that took down three defenders on a 23-yard scoring scamper by Stephan Taylor…Andrew Luck dinked and dunked passes while hiding behind his right guard, but it was the guard’s open field block on linebacker Rob Hankins that led to Taylor’s 49-yard touchdown jaunt in the second quarter, as DeCastro had another three touchdown-resulting blocks and thirteen knockdowns vs. Arizona…Added two touch-down-resulting blocks, including one that upended defensive tackle Conrad Obi on a 1-yard scoring plunge by Taylor, as DeCastro graded 100% vs. Colorado…His second perfect score for the season came behind fourteen knockdowns and a record five touch-down resulting blocks vs. Washington, as the right guard flattened All-Pac 12 defensive tackle Alameda Te’Amu on a 45-yard reverse for a score by receiver Chris Owusu. It also marked the first time that Te’Amu was held to no statistics in a game (spanning 39 contests).
DeCastro was a second-team All-American selection by The NFL Draft Report, as he set a then school season-record with a blocking consistency grade of 90.15% while starting all thirteen games at right guard…Was part of an outstanding offensive line that included first team All-American Chase Beeler, Jonathan Martin and Derek Hall, joining that trio in recdeiving All-Pac 10 Conference accolades…That unit ranked second in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (six), as DeCastro recorded 99 knockdowns and 20 touchdown-resulting blocks…His blocking skills helped pave the way for a Stanford rushing attack to rank 17th in the nation with an average of 213.77 yards and amass the second-highest rushing total (2,779) in school history…One of five players to earn the Frank Rehm Award for outstanding play in the Big Game vs. California, DeCastro also provided stellar pass protection as the Cardinal finished 14th in the nation in total offense (472.46 ypg) and ninth in scoring (40.31 ppg).
DeCastro took over right guard duties, starting every game, as he garnered All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention…Graded 87.72% for blocking consistency, producing seventeen touchdown-resulting blocks for a rushing attack that placed 11th nationally (218.23 ypg)…Added 79 knockdowns as the team averaged 427.62 yards per game in total offense and ranked eleventh in the major college ranks in scoring (35.46 ppg).
Did not see action, retaining freshman eligibility.
No major injuries reported.
DeCastro attended Bellevue (Wash.) High School, playing football for Wolverines head coach Butch Goncharoff…Was an All-State performer on the offensive line, and ranked third in the nation among centers, according to Scout.com…ESPN rated the lineman as the nation’s seventh-best center, while Rivals.com had him ranked eleventh…Super Prep rated him the third-best overall prospect in the state of Washington, with Scout.com and Rivals.com placing him sixth overall in the state…The Super Prep All-American added All-State honors and was the recipient of the King County Lineman of the Year Award as a senior…The previous season, he helped lead his team to the state title…Went on to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Game following his senior season…Also competed in track, throwing shot put, an event where he captured the 2008 Washington State 3A champion with a throw of 59-3…Also won the district (58-4) and the King County 3A League (58-1 ½) titles, as well…The lineman graduated with a 4.06 grade point average.
Management, Science and Engineering…Son of Jennifer and Colin DeCastro…Born 1/11/90…Resides in Bellevue, Washington.