Last year, if we’re being honest, was not David DeCastro’s best year. It wasn’t bad by any means but fair to characterize it as a disappointment. No Steeler was more penalized than his 11, five more than the next closest offensive linemen. That number is down this year. And he’s viewed as not only the best run blocker on the team but of any offensive guard in the league.
That’s according to the folks over at Pro Football Focus, who have given him a league-leading 93.2 run blocking grade.
The best run blocking guard in the NFL this season 💪 pic.twitter.com/MxPNUvVKij
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 2, 2017
DeCastro has consistently earned high marks from PFF this season. And from our own charting, he’s allowed just half a sack in pass protection (he did allow only two in 2016).
He’s a bread and butter player in the run game, usually the lead puller on the Steelers’ famous counter trey runs that have been so successful over the past years. DeCastro plays with the physical, old-school demeanor football demands, like this block on the Steelers’ first run last Sunday. Chip the 3 tech to the ground and then cut the linebacker at the second level, opening up a huge lane for Le’Veon Bell.
David DeCastro set the tone early. One of best combo blocks of the year. 3T knocked off his feet, cut the LB. Big hole for Bell. pic.twitter.com/3vVhQa5gTs
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) October 31, 2017
Despite the weapons at receiver, the Steelers have run the ball sixth most of the entire NFL, though playing with the lead like they have certainly aides in that figure. The average isn’t particularly pretty, just 3.7 YPC, but that’s hardly DeCastros’ fault.
He’s been a steady presence on a line that has seen more shuffling around than it would like, even forced to rely on third string right tackle Matt Feiler to close out last week’s game. But the Steelers will hopefully be back to its intended starting five after the bye. Even if it’s not, DeCastro’s role – or performance – will be unchanged. He’ll continue to maul in the run game and serve as one of the NFL’s top guards.