Among the more consistent performers this preseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been right guard David DeCastro, the team’s first-round draft pick from 2012. The right side of the offensive line as a whole, in fact, has been among the few highlights for the Steelers during the preseason.
DeCastro at times flashed hints of dominance last year in his first full season, particularly in run blocking, but he also seems to have improved upon his pass protection as well. He is a solid technician, but if there is one area that could stand to see improvement in his game, it would have to be finishing, as he has a sporadic tendency to slip off blocks.
The play above is a good example of the right side of the offensive line working together well, diagnosing the blitzing linebacker. DeCastro did his part by watching the center and right tackle while waiting to absorb the linebacker’s bull rush. He positioned himself so that he and Marcus Gilbert would be able to work together to seal the two players and force themselves to overlap each other.
DeCastro was able to get up onto Mychal Kendricks on this carry by LeGarrette Blount on the Steelers’ second drive. He was able to hold Kendricks back for a while before the linebacker broke free as Blount cut back and ran by the pair, assisting on the tackle by wrapping up his legs as the safety came up to stop him.
Nose tackle Damion Square was able to get the better of DeCastro early in the second quarter on a Le’Veon Bell carry. While he was in good position to begin the play, Square was able to use his strength to twist DeCastro to the side and make the tackle on Bell after a gain of four yards.
Although this play ended up not counting because of an illegal contact penalty in the secondary, DeCastro did a nice job against Fletcher Cox. It seemed as though Cox might be able to stand him up early on, but as the two tussled, DeCastro was able to get his feet underneath him and maneuvered around the pocket well with Cox before finally getting a hold of him.
Pulling on a screen is something that the third-year guard has had his ups and downs with, but he got the job done here, finding DeMeco Ryans, mirroring his footsteps, and angling him to the side, allowing Bell to find the inside of the field, even if the play only gained three yards in the end.
Ryans was on the losing end of a clash with DeCastro again on the first play of the next drive, as the guard pulled to the left and lowered his shoulder into the linebacker’s chest, nudging him out of the play as Blount found the hole for six yards. He whiffed on the same block on the next play, but Blount had already made the decision to cut it back to the right by that point.