To continue our look at some of the Steelers number one draft picks that SteelerNation have seen play, we spotlight David DeCastro.
“He sets the tone for who we are as a football team,” suggested Stanford’s new head coach David Shaw in 2011. “He’s athletic, he’s tough. He’s physical. One of the things David and I talked about when I first go the job was, I said, ‘I need you to step up as a leader. I don’t need you to be vocal, I need you to set standards.”
Left tackle Jonathan Martin and DeCastro were the foundations of an offensive line that protected Andrew Luck during his final year at Stanford when he set a new record for touchdowns thrown. The offensive line allowed only eleven sacks and DeCastro none. He was rated the top lineman going into the 2012 draft.
DeCastro started all 39 games at right guard for three years in front of Luck. ESPN’s Todd McShay described DeCastro as, “Not an elite athlete, but well above average for the position. Quick to set and stay balanced. Can fit any scheme in NFL.”
Ben took a pounding in 2011 when the Steelers allowed 42 sacks. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the December win over the Browns and it was anticipated the Steelers would take an offensive lineman to help in his protection.
Pittsburgh had the 24th overall pick while Dallas (14th) or Cincinnati (17th) were suggested as the teams most likely to take DeCastro. The Cowboys traded up to take Morris cornerback Clairborne and the Bengals also selected a cornerback in Dre Kirkpatrick.
The Steelers got their man and, in addition, took Mike Adams in the second round to confirm their intention to preserve their investment in their quarterback. Once again, the Steelers didn’t believe the player they wanted would still be available. “Really, we didn’t think David would be there at 24 quite honestly,” said general manager Kevin Colbert. “We valued him that high.”
Coach Tomlin described evaluating DeCastro for the draft as fun. “Everything we would ask him to do you saw him do it at Stanford whether it was pulling or pass protection. He’s a tough guy. He has a lot of attributes we think will help our football team.”
DeCastro admitted it was surreal going to the Steelers. “I had no expectations going in,” he admitted. “I didn’t know where I was going. Now I’m the biggest Steelers fan there is.”
DeCastro would reinforce an offensive line the Steelers had already boosted twice in the previous three years with the addition of Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert.
Last season, DeCastro was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth straight time although he did not play in the game due to an injury. His stats can be found on Pro Football Reference. Having been voted SteelerNationUK’s MVP for 2018 suggests the high esteem he is held in by Steeler fans.