How The Hell Did That Happen & Who Should The Steelers Thank For The Gift Of DeCastro?

The 2012 NFL draft taught me a very valuable lesson tonight and that is to never say never. Stanford guard David DeCastro falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers is an example that we can point to for several years to come. The 22 year old guard was supposedly unobtainable for the Steelers unless they were to trade up into the top 15 to get him. At best I thought he could have fell to around pick 20, but that was in my most wildest scenarios. None of those scenarios included what happened Thursday night in New York.

So how did the best guard in the draft that recorded 316 knockdowns, 68 touchdown-resulting blocks and a blocking consistency grade of 91.63% during his career fall down to 24? For starters, interior linemen never seem to get respect in round one of the draft. Just last year Danny Watkins was the only guard drafted in round one at that was by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 23rd pick while center Mike Pouncey was draft by the Miami Dolphins with pick 15. In 2010 Mike Iupati was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers at 17, one pick ahead of where the Steelers took center Maurkice Pouncey. They were the only two interior linemen drafted in the first round that year. In 2009 it was centers Alex Mack and Eric Wood that were the only two interior linemen drafted in round one. In 2008 there were no guards or centers taken in round one and in 2007 Ben Grubbs was the lone guard take in round one by the Baltimore Ravens with the 29th pick.

All of the guard disrespect aside in past drafts, this is David “Freaking” DeCastro we are talking about here. A kid that allowed only one sack during his collegiate career. An aggressive technician whose father and grandfather were South African rugby stars. This is no ordinary guard we are talking about here and thus the reason he was considered by many worth a top 10 selection. Even Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was pretty shocked he fell all the way down the board like a linebacker falling prey to a second level block by Double D. Colbert said in his press conference following the selection when asked if he thought he would be on the board at 24, “No, really we didn’t think David would be there at 24. We valued him very high. As we said the other day, there were a few special players in this group that we thought would be easy to evaluate and he was one of them.” Can you imagine what it must have been like in the Steelers war-room after the Detroit Lions turned in their selection of Iowa tackle Riley Reiff? There had to be a ton of high-fives I am willing to bet.

So who do we thank for this gift? The Miami Dolphins for starters as they selected Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the 8th pick. While the selection was not overly shocking, it forced one more player down the board. Next on the thank you card list must be the Arizona Cardinals for taking Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd to perhaps appease Larry Fitzgerald. DeCastro was well needed and a perfect fit for Pittsburgh West. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also needs a hat tip for reaching for West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin. That was one of the most surprising picks in the round.

The dominoes continued to fall the Steelers way, but surely DeCastro wouldn\’t make it past the Cincinnati Bengals second pick in round one, the 21st selection. This was a gift on a silver platter for team owner Mike Brown. Brown indeed passed on DeCastro and decided to trade the pick to the New England Patriots and they promptly selected Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Once that pick was announced I got real excited when I looked at the draft board. I knew the Lions would have to accept their gift of Reiff if he was there, so all we needed was for the Cleveland Browns to pass on DeCastro. They did, and it was for a 28 year old quarterback named Brandon Weeden out of Oklahoma State. The Browns, who needed right side guard help, delivered DeCastro right to the Steelers with that pick. How fantastic is that?

The Steelers now have one of their biggiest needs addressed in this draft and years from now we can thank the Bengals and the Browns for playing a big role in that. The Steelers love value and Colbert always seems to get it no matter where he picks in the first round. How aggravated do you think the Baltimore Ravens must have been when they saw us get the gift from the other two AFC North teams? That might have been the real war-room to see the reaction in, not the Steelers. So who did the Ravens pick in first round? They didn\’t pick anyone as they traded out of the round with the Minnesota Vikings.

I think I speak for all of Steeler Nation when I say thank you to the Bengals and the Browns organizations. The Steelers will hopefully remind you both of this gift for the next 10 years.

  • I think your last paragraph sums it up perfectly.

  • Eric87

    yup this was best case scenario in my opinion, couldnt have drafter better player-for-position. Yea I would thank the Bengals and Pats. The Bengals would have taken Decastro if not for Pats as they took Zeitler with the trade, so it pains me, but thank you New England

  • Michael Marshall

    Not only does “STEELER NATION’ have The Ben-gals And Clowns to Thank, but GOD as well! This was a case of “Divine Intervention”… Peace!!

  • Eric87

    wonder if NE thought we were gonna take Chandler Jones and thats why they jumped us? Or Detroit?

  • Eric87

    Now if one of the other guards fall to Steelers in rounds 2-4, then o-line as been repaired and would have decent depth behind them

  • Tank

    Wasn’t mike pouncey a first rounder?

  • Kev4heels

    Incredible luck for the Steelers. Best pick since Ben in 04.

  • So, this means that we never have to hear “there’s NO WAY [insert players name] will be there when the Steelers draft.”.

    And it wasn’t just DeCastro who fell. Look how far Melvin Ingram fell. It just goes to show, you can never predict how the draft board will play out. Just because ESPN says things will go a certain way, doesn’t make it true. After all, they are the network that predicts that the Cowboys will play in the Super Bowl, every year.

  • Moses

    The Bengals have to be SICK right now…

    The fact they reached for an OG just a few picks later tells you DD was their pick.

    With Hightower and the pass rushers still on the board, I guess they thought he’d get by the Steelers.


  • JohnnyV1

    I’m still in shock, but very very happy! KC likes value, and he sure got it in Rd 1. And no TE selected in Rd 1, which is not shocking!

  • Jon Chorba

    If the price is right and he’s healthy, bring back Starks next year. Starks, DeCastro, Pouncey, Colon, and Gilbert would be a fantastic line. I’m still in shock that we grabbed DD! He’s got that Steeler look and attitude!

  • SteelersDepot

    Yes, but was a center.

  • Nik Greene

    You’re right. Maybe he came out of college as a tackle but was projected to move inside? But the Dolphins definitely drafted him in the first round.

  • John Hinton

    I had to pinch myself when I woke up this morning…NOW we have a solid interior O-Line for years to come just like we did back in the Golden Age. Go Steelers GO!

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Jonathan Martin fell all the way out of the first round…

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I was not big on this guy as 1st round talent, but I would LOVE to see this team move up and get Cordy Glenn at the top of the 2nd round. He is a LG I liked, but I didn’t think he was better than Hightower based on our needs. Now that he is still sitting there….they should think about going and getting him.

  • Nolrog

    Awesome draft night. I was watching with baited breath and cheered every time the first name called wasn’t David.

    Double D, with Pouncey and Gilbert. That’s the beginnings of pretty good line.

    So, what’s on tap for round 2? A nose? A line backer? Coby Fleener? 😉

  • Daveb1952

    I’m not so sure on the Colon to guard thing, especially now.. I know there’s a lot of talk about that, but LoCastro is a RG, which it means Colon, if kicked inside, would move to LG. Willie has a lot of attributes, but being quick off the ball, and the straight line speed needed to trap aren’t on the list. As a RG Colon, while being a road grader his speed would not be as much of an issue to a team theat runs right 89 % of the time, but, would still need to exibit quickness of the ball, again not his strong suit. Finally, Is Starks a better RT than Colon? I don’t think so. In pass protect they are about a draw, but In the run game, Willie plays with much better leverage, and is the more effective run blocker, if healthy, and that has been a problem of late.. My guess is they sign Starks as the swing tackle, and fire Scott, Foster keeps the RG position and LoCastro starts his career at LG, unless we start running to the left with a little more regularity. Essex and Legs will be back ups, unless a draft pick beats them out. JMO.

  • steelerfanmatt1933

    That is my feeling as well. I’m still hoping Brooks and/or Silatolu are available at 2.24.

    Here We Go, Steelers!

  • Kevin

    I don’t think Zeitler was a reach. In fact, Greg Cosell had Zeitler going to the Steelers in his fake mock draft. He had Zeitler as a better fit for the Steelers than Decastro, I think.

  • kevin

    I think we have bigger needs than replacing Ramon Foster though, who I think can move to LG without much problem. Then again, if there is no other value, I say might as well find an upgrade.

  • Coby Fleener won’t last past pick 34.

  • Pete

    Absolutely! Dave-Te Thomas said he couldn’t see Donta Hightower sliding beyond 15.

  • Agent kent

    I have to believe Decastro fell because of the 2nd and 3rd interior line depth in this draft. As opposed to years past. I still want another o lineman in the second Massie would be perfect.

  • dale42719

    gotta thank the pats for tradin up to get hightower too. I was worried after we took DD that baltimore was gonna end up grabbin hightower.