Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick David DeCastro reportedly hasn\’t set Latrobe on fire through the first twelve days of training camp, and according to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it is the physical part that is giving DeCastro the most problem.
Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times reports Monday that Roethlisberger talked to the Stanford product recently to see how he was doing and asked the rookie to give a self evaluation of himself.
“I talked to him the other day,” Roethlisberger said. “I said, ‘How you doing? Evaluate yourself.\’ “He said it’s different. I said what do you mean? He said it’s tough. I said what’s the tough part, the mental or the physical? He said, ‘The mental part I got. The physical is a lot tougher. These guys are really good.’”
At least DeCastro was honest with his quarterback and it is good that Roethlisberger took time to get inside his head. I must admit that I figured DeCastro to be a plug and play type guard after he surprisingly fell to the Steelers in the first round. While it is still early on in the process, it seems that Decastro has a ways to go before he overtakes Ramon Foster, who reportedly is having a good camp. Am I alarmed yet? No, not really, just surprised more than anything. Keep in mind that the great Alan Faneca was forced to alternate with Roger Duffy at left guard at the start of his rookie season and he did not make his first start until after the bye week against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 6.
DeCastro was a man amongst boys during his time at Stanford and now he is finding out that the quality of defensive lineman that he will face in the NFL is three times as good as what he faced in the Pac-12. In addition, he is likely feeling a lot of pressure on him being the teams first round selection. DeCastro now knows what he is up against and should work hard to get to where he needs to be. It\’s good to hear that it is the physical aspect, and not the mental aspect, that is giving him fits right now as that can be fixed with time in the weight room. If it was the mental aspect, then I would certainly be worried.
Although many of us were shocked that he fell in the Steelers lap in the first round, one person that evidently wasn\’t was General Manager Kevin Colbert, this according to team president Art Rooney II, who was interviewed Friday night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium by Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan of SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“We\’re excited to have him,” said Rooney II about DeCastro. “Kevin Colbert, our GM, really in January started saying, \’You know this guy is going to be there,\’ and we kept saying, \’Kevin, forget it. He\’s not going to be there when we pick,\’ and we were surprised that he was there.”
“So we\’re excited to get him and he\’s out there learning,” continued Rooney II. “He was a little late, because he\’s one of the guys that had a late graduation date, so he missed part of the offseason. So he\’s learning, but it\’s going to be fun to see him work his way up in the upcoming preseason games and see him get in there.”
Judging by the comments made by Rooney II, the preseason is when they expect DeCastro to start working his way up. Will he work his way up fast enough be the week one starter Denver? Time will only tell, but it appears right now he is firmly behind Foster on the depth chart heading into preseason game number one this coming Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. At that time DeCastro will likely get quite a bit of time with the second unit and we will get a better gauge of where he is or isn\’t from a physical standpoint.