David DeCastro Solid Against The Browns

By Matthew Marczi

When the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the clock for the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, they may as well have jogged their card up to the podium to select guard David DeCastro, such was their excitement over his availability at their draft spot.

Because of a preseason injury, however, it was only in his second season that the team has finally begun to see the investment bear fruit—which was particularly crucial, considering he inadvertently took out the team’s other most talented offensive lineman on the second drive of the season.

DeCastro had a bit of an up and down year at times, getting off to a slow start and working through some minor injuries, but there were stretches where he played at a Pro Bowl level. The season finale against the Cleveland Browns had a bit of everything in terms of performance.

The Steelers have traditionally been a heavy run-right team; however, with a pulling guard on the right side, Pittsburgh has been experimenting with some more plays toward the left. They ran this play—pulling both DeCastro and Heath Miller—several times against the Browns.

DeCastro picked up outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, in the process turning him and sealing him behind the play. With Miller and Kelvin Beachum also making good on their assignments, it made for an easy seven-yard gain for Le’Veon Bell.

Here is that same play again, this time in the third quarter. Once again, DeCastro pulled to the left and sealed off Mingo. This time Ramon Foster struggled to maintain his block on Billy Winn, but Bell managed to squeeze through the tight alley and was able to pick up a nine-yard gain on the play.

This play is a nice show of resilience from DeCastro. He and Marcus Gilbert worked  double team on Ahtyba Rubin to begin the play, which was designed to go through the A Gap. Rubin got the better of DeCastro and was able to seal off the gap, but Bell stayed on his feet and worked around DeCastro, who then sealed off Rubin to the inside, which allowed Bell to gain five yards out of nothing.

On the other hand, here is an example of one of DeCastro’s few missteps. He missed picking up D’Qwell Jackson on a pull, who proceeded to make the tackle on Jonathan Dwyer after just a two-yard gain. DeCastro has one of these plays every now and then, but he is quickly emerging as perhaps the Steelers’ next Pro Bowl player, as early as next season.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • srdan

    Looks good pulling. Foster looked good on the one pull as well. David finished the year very strong. He is one of the most improved players of the year next to cam. Brown had a good season last year as well, but we had the Wallace issue going on all year.

  • Callentown

    I know everyone wants to believe this player is a Pro Bowler. He’s not.

    Sorry, but the FO doesn’t seem to be very good at drafting O-Lineman. DeCastro had an average year. See run stats to support.

    Obviously, he had the worst play of the year for this team as mentioned above. But as yet another first rd pick, we should be seeing more than up and down play after two seasons with the team.

    Pointing out a few good plays in the finale, at home, against a poor team that was well out of the playoffs doesn’t add much to his resume.

  • SteelersDepot

    Easily the silliest comment of the day. Congrats.

  • Jason

    Patience, it’s still early.

  • Callentown

    Well, it’s still early!!

    Hey, I’m happy to listen to ‘facts’ about why DeCastro is a Pro Bowler. I have not seen that.

  • Callentown

    Every year, there are a fair number of rookie O-lineman that start and are immediately solid for their team.

    DeCastro after two seasons is still not there.

  • steeltown

    This is basically his first season..and he was solid. You realize he wasn’t activated last year till December

  • Callentown

    Of course, but he has been with the team for two years and it’s not like this year was the first time he took a snap.

    Again, compare to other O-lineman that walked in as rookies and started this year or last.

  • Jason

    I know FFF isn’t the Bible but they had him going from a
    -4.1 to a +4.6 from the third qtr of the season to the final qtr. Not sure what that means but you wanted facts.

  • steeltown

    What are you saying.. the 1st and 2nd overall picks this year, the Tackles (Fisher & Joeckel) have struggled to adapt the the pro game and they were 1 and 2 overall.. There was talk of whether the Chiefs should bench Fisher after the first half of the season, he’s played some better since but nowhere near a 1st overall pick should play atleast according to some. Does that mean he’s a terrible player or will never make a probowl? …certainly not

  • Jason

    Make that PFF

  • Callentown

    Ha yeah, thank you Jason 🙂

    I see Alan Robinson has an article rating all players from last year. While DeCastro is solid in run blocking, he has a -0.1 rating in pass protection.

    Again, my main point here is that he is average, not Pro Bowl or special and was another high round pick.

    In fact, let’s take a quick look, you and I..

    Since 2008, here are the O-Line draft picks and round they were drafted:

    DeCastro – 1 (solid)

    Adams – 2 (cannot pass protect in any way shape or form and sits on the bench)

    Beachum – 7 (what a fantastic surprise from a 7th rounder)

    Gilbert – 2 (lives on skates and has not shown he will ever be an NFL-quality starter)

    Keith Williams – 6 (Gone)

    Pouncey – 1 (Our best lineman and had arguably his best season as a rookie)

    Chris Scott – 5 (gone)

    Kraig Urbik – 3 (gone)

    A.Q. Shipley – 7 (gone)

    Tony Hills – 4 (gone)

    Overall, the FO does not draft this position well at all.

  • Callentown

    At this point, it doesn’t mean anything. Players are drafted all over the board with mixed results. This isn’t DeCastro’s rookie season. He’s had off-season, OTA’s, Mini and training camps for two seasons and played some last year.

    Maybe he’ll be okay. But he’s not anything special or a pro bowler and the FO is just plain bad at drafting O-lineman. See history above.

  • steeltown


  • steeltown

    6 of the 10 names here are starting in the NFL

  • Jason

    I would agree that Pouncey seemed to peak as a rookie somehow but I think DeCastro will continue to improve and eventually be all pro caliber. That said it is a rough looking list you provided with Beachum being a nice bright spot.

  • Callentown

    I hear ya. Hey, I want these picks to pan out as much as the next fan. My goal isn’t to argue are push negativity.

    That said, I call ’em like I see ’em. If he ever plays at a high level, I will be here to sing his praises.

    I used to call Flacco, ‘Falco’ and said if he ever shows me something, I’ll call him by his real name. Well, he won the SB, so even showing this year he’s not all that, I call him Flacco now. Peace Steeltown

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I think Shipley and Hills are playing elsewhere, and I know Urbik is starting and playing well for Buffalo. And don;t laugh about Buffalo as everyone know how much they love to run, and yet they still have much more success than the Steelers.

    So maybe it means they actually do know how to draft Linemen, but there may be a problem with coaching them up, or the change in line coaches. I think they obviously need someone that will instill a little extra toughness in them. Let these guys play right through the play next year, with no let up until you hear the 2nd whistle.

  • Brandon James

    Honestly I question most of this. A line that went through 3 centers, 3 running backs and Decastro had is ROOKIE season. The kid got hurt last year and that counts for something as well. He’s a technician and he is only getting better. If your not excited about this line for next year you never will be! Beachum-Foster-Pouncey-Decastro-Adams/Gilbert with new found depth. Our weakness is about to become our strength.

    Stats will never truly 100% show a players worth, value, and talent. Have to look outside the numbers

  • Callentown

    As a fan of this team for the past 40 years, I believe I do know a little bit about them.

    A bit over the top to suggest that this line will be something to be excited about.

    Wondering what you are basing this suggestion on. Is it that they finished #28 in rushing?
    Or, that they can’t stay healthy – any year!??
    OR is it that you just want to believe, like the rest of us, and ignore how Adams and Gilbert have played to this point?