OK here is the audio and transcript of the Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin press conference following the selection of Stanford guard David DeCastro with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
Kevin Colbert: Good evening everybody. We are very excited to announce our first pick, David DeCastro, guard, Stanford University. He’s a great player, excellent intangibles and character, he’s tough, he’s a leader, he’s smart, everything you could ask for in a player this kid encompasses. We are truly, truly excited that he was available for us at pick 24.
Mike Tomlin: The intangibles are obvious, but he is the unquestioned leader of a very veteran group from a college football standpoint. The guy has great football character and we’re excited about putting him into the fold.
Re: Did you think David was a possibility that late in the draft?
Kevin Colbert: 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.
Re: Are there any negative aspects to David DeCastro?
Kevin Colbert: I hope we don’t find out any time soon. Those are great stats and they (Stanford) were a great offensive football team. That was an excellent offensive group and when you looked at them, you looked at a pro-style offense. Obviously, they had the number one pick at quarterback so that helped tremendously. Again, when you watch this team run the football, I would say 80 percent of the time David DeCastro was leading the way. This kid is an exceptional player. His football demeanor is all business and no nonsense. That was really attractive to us.
Re: Was he a no-brainer pick?
Kevin Colbert: Yes.
Re: Is he a right or left guard?
Mike Tomlin: He is a right guard. That’s what he has played at Stanford. We are going to work to put our best people on the field and he will be a candidate within that group, obviously. It was just a fun evaluation. He played right guard in Stanford’s offense and everything we would ask him to do you saw him do at Stanford, whether it was pulling or the pass-pro in the play-action game. Like Kevin said earlier, a large portion of their run-game went behind him. He made it a fun study. He is just a solid player and prospect in all areas.
Re: You have used three premium picks on offensive linemen early in the past drafts, are there more to come?
Kevin Colbert: You can never have enough good players at any one position. As we’ve done in the past, like last year taking the two cornerbacks, taking an offensive linemen doesn’t preclude us from doing it again the next round or somewhere throughout this draft.
Re: Were you worried about other teams jumping in front to take him?
Kevin Colbert: We really can’t do anything about what other teams are doing behind us, so you start looking at your odds of how many players are left that we would be happy with, and there were several players that were still available for us. David was clearly the guy and we were excited he was there.
Re: Is he a better run blocker or pass blocker?
Kevin Colbert: He’s great in the line of scrimmage. He can pull. He can trap. He’s a solid pass protector. Really, the kid’s good.
Re: Was he a player that you wrote off because you didn’t think you had a shot at picking him?
Kevin Colbert: The only two we really wrote off were the two quarterbacks that went one and two. We knew that was going to happen. There was a group of these guys up top that we’d feel fortunate if they came to us, and fortunately one did.
Re: Do you think other teams are leery about drafting guards?
Kevin Colbert: Could be. I can’t speak for anyone else other than to say we’re glad they didn’t take him.
Re: DeCastro’s toughness
Mike Tomlin: He’s a tough guy. His tape displays that. He doesn’t need any endorsement from me. He has a lot of attributes that we think can help us and be positive additions to our football team.
Re: Do you write off any rookies as starters?
Mike Tomlin: No, we never do. If they are ready and capable and earn it, they play. That’s always been our approach. Pouncey’s one that did. There have been some others that have taken some more time. I wouldn’t read too much into that. More than anything, it’s about the overall readiness of the individual player, whatever player we’re talking about.
Re: Did you entertain trading up to get DeCastro?
Kevin Colbert: Before the draft, we identified several players that we’d trade up to get, and he was one of them. I’ll leave it at that. With every pick the odds increase. When we picked, there was a nice group. We would have been happy with three or four guys that were available at our pick. Really, a better group presented itself than we thought would, but he was one that we identified as possible to trade up to get.
Re: Was Hightower in that group?
Kevin Colbert: I don’t want to comment on anybody that went behind us, other than to say that he’s a great player.
Re: Did you actually try to call and trade up to get him?
Kevin Colbert: I’ll leave that to the imagination. I’ll just say again, we identified several guys that we thought we would entertain trading up to get, and this kid was one of them.
Re: What talents stand out in DeCastro?
Kevin Colbert: I just think his overall ability to be aggressive and be athletic at the same time. It shows up on his tape. There’s going to be times when he falls through a block, but it’s usually four or five yards down the field after he’s completed a block. We were out there for his pro day, Coach Kugler and myself made the visit out there, and he had an outstanding pro day. It just solidified what we thought. Quite honestly, it scared us a little bit because he worked out so well that we didn’t think there was any way we’d get a shot at him.
Mike Tomlin: Again, the unique thing about his evaluation is that there’s no guess work. There’s always some guess work or projections, if you will, in terms of evaluating guys. Very little in his because everything that we would ask him to do you see him do, and see him do consistently on tape, whether it’s in the running game or the passing game.