Right Or Left For David DeCastro & Does It Really Matter?

Now that the shock of David DeCastro being selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers has worn off, the question I see most asked is if the Stanford product can play left guard. Of course Mike Tomlin was asked that very question during the press conference following the pick and said, “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.” The Tomlin answer was as you expect, not specific, and we need to remember that we still potentially have 9 more picks to make in this draft as well.

When you look at how the current line shakes out you have Marcus Gilbert and Willie Colon as the left and right tackles respectively. Ramon Foster, who I thought was the Steelers most consistent lineman last season, played predominantly at right guard in 2011, while Doug Legursky played a lot of left guard when not having to sub for Maurkice Pouncey at center. Legursky is best suited in my opinion as a swing lineman right now going forward so that would mean that Foster would have to flip over to the left side should right guard be the destination of DeCastro.

One thing to keep in mind is that DeCastro is a very bright technician and a move to the left side at the beginning of training camp is not out of the question. The Steelers were a heavy right handed team last season, but a lot of that had to do with the inability to run the power the left behind Max Starks and a pulling Foster. It was much easier to run the counter pike play to the right with the more mobile Legursky and Chris Kemoeatu. With Gilbert now on the left side and Colon returning from injury on the right, they should be able to become more balanced directionally regardless of where DeCastro plays.

Just so you know how right handed they were last year, the Steelers only ran left of middle 84 times in the regular season, while running right of middle 209 times according to the official NFL stats. The other 124 plays were logged as up the middle. As a quick comparison, the Kansas City Chiefs were very balanced directionally under Todd Haley. They logged 159 running plays to the right of middle and 149 to the left of middle. The other 165 were logged as being up the middle.

We will have a look at the offensive line again at the end of the draft and see if any other linemen are selected early on that could compete for the other guard spot, but I think we are in good hands wherever DeCastro lines up. I would not rule out left guard as an eventually spot. It might not be initially, but it could be in the plans down the line. Right now it just doesn\’t matter. The key thing is we drafted the Joe Thomas of guards. It will all work itself out fine.



  • if legursky can play LG then decastro can easily do it. but regardless it doesn’t matter, for he will be a beast where ever he lines up

  • Bleebo77

    Thanks for the breakdown, Dave! Maybe the additional silver lining is that DeCastro will allow the team to be more balanced (read: less predictable) in the run game. Part of me would like to keep him where’s he’s most comfortable and experienced, but as Ben says, I’m sure he could move over to the left if needed.

    It’ll be interesting to see if they pick another OL and at what position. I wonder if Adams, Martin, or Massie falls to them in Rd. 2. And there is still OG value in the 2nd round and beyond. Maybe they’d take a swing guy like Osemele or Brooks who’ll be a guard but could play tackle in a pinch. Or wait until Rd. 4 or 5 and take a guy like Nix. And of course, they brought in Beachum, who also can long snap. Lots of combinations!

  • Deciphering what Tomlin means to say from what he actually says is always an interesting game. I think Tomlin presents the minimum information in the simplest form, not because he isn’t intelligent but because he doesn’t see the point in giving away important information and he sees through the simplistic questions that reporters ask in an attempt to get Tomlin or Colbert talking.

    Tomlin said that DeCastro is a right guard, because that literally IS what he is at this point in time. He played right guard in college, and the team drafted him as a player that was/is a right guard. That statement says nothing about what he will or can do on the Steelers, because that is the future, and Tomlin said what DeCastro IS (present tense). Tomlin is careful with his choice of words, and I think the fact that he noted what is (present) instead of what will be (future) is significant.

    Just like the Timmons pick a few years ago.

  • zbluez1

    Would Love to see Massie in Rd 2, Mike Martin maybe Rd 3 James-Michael Johnson RD 4 , again these guys are grinders, not the flash/splash draft talent, but solid


    What do you mean that the shock has worn off?

  • dgh57

    DeCastro is used to the RG position but I bet he can play both and is willing to.

    I have a feeling the Colts are going to take Fleener to start off the 2nd rd after all they played together at Stanford. So there goes our TE.

    Then the Ravens may take Upshaw! I just don;t want the Ravens getting any good players!

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I am still hoping at this point for a trade up…and it will cost us, to get Cordy Glenn.


    Hey, a man can dream.

  • Robhenderson

    Legs need to be a Important BACKUP not a Starter. He can BAckup Center & Guard. Roman Foster handles his own ever year. He is treated the way the treated Max Starks for years. For some reason they dont want im but once he’s in there the line jells and that refers to Starks & Foster.
    Now, if we can get Amani Silatolu,Brooks or Osemele look out.

  • Robhenderson

    Having DeCastro at RG means Pouncey could pull and if we can move up for Silatolu that would be beyond Nasty.

  • Bleebo77

    As with Rd. 1, the rest of the draft will be an exercise in seeing who drops to us. They could go OL in 2 if there’s someone there (I too salivate over adding another stud OG), but there are a number of players who’d be nice: Ta’amu, Kendricks, Derek Wolfe… Can’t wait!

  • Garrett1771

    Don’t forget more depth at OT if Max Starks signs back. Nice insurance policy for Colon who hasn’t been able to stay healthy lately.

  • stan

    Just me but I think they may take a franchise-type rb in the late 2nd. That kid from Miami could really be special. Either that or they have to take a big NT if they can.

  • Frankthebuc

    Steelers will have another top guard slide to them in the 4th.

  • Bee Wuu

    Every year certain Pos. break, good value. If Steelers get another good G,OT in 2nd, even if have to trade up, those are positions not having concentrate on for several yrs. Getting 2 quality O lineman drafting where they normally draft in 1 yr…especially needing them, gotta get them. Value! Drafting in the mid/late 20’s every yr; when do they get the chance to draft a top G/OT, or two?

  • kerror

    I agree, thats why I love our coach! 😀

  • Derick

    How would feel about this now Dave, Wolfe in the 2nd and Martin in the 3rd? I am upset at the fact say that happens, how many picks are invested at the DE position… then I remember being in Denver and watching what happened unfold right before my eyes. it sucked.

  • SteelersDepot

    Could be the plan as well. Wolfe is talented 3-4, 5 tech material.

  • Intropy

    Oh absolutely. He’s stingy in the media with any data that could be strategically valuable to opponents or that could create an unwanted expectation among the players. In this case it’s the latter. He doesn’t want to say to Foster that he’s safe, or the same to Legursky. He wants to be able to go into camp and make those decisions without anyone having pre-defined expectations that can be backed up with Tomlin’s own words.

  • Seanmp7

    what about talking a OT and moving Colon to guard?

  • Intropy

    Pouncey is very mobile and DeCastro appears to be as well. It occurs to me that they may be well set up to run screen passes.

  • Putter

    Some great comments and would love to have another offensive lineman. We’re going to need to score a lot of points with only one Cornerback (Ike). Should we be concerned? (and please please don’t give me the list of Lewis, Allen, and Brown – hey, that could be a law firm! but I digress). They may all make All-Pro someday but they still appear to be unproven to me

  • Eric87

    Dont think it really matters, though with his athleticism, he could play on the left side