When he was drafted in the first round in 2012, many expected David DeCastro to step right in and have a big impact on the Steelers’ offensive line.
That hasn’t happened the way many have hoped as after injuring his knee last preseason, DeCastro hasn’t been quick to assert himself as a dominant NFL guard.
Many people expected DeCastro to have an Alan Faneca type of impact, but after a rocky start to his career, expectations may have shifted a bit to hope that DeCastro would turn out to be a Willie Colon-type player at the best.
But what not many people realize is that even though DeCastro is in his second season in the NFL, he hasn’t played a full season’s worth of games yet in his young career. The Stanford product is learning on the fly and by the looks of things he’s starting to figure it out rather nicely.
The Steelers running game had their best performance of the season last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Part of that had to do with the fact that rookie running back Le’Veon Bell looked completely healthy.
But a lot had to with the fact that DeCastro is becoming the anchor of this Steelers offensive line and turned in his most dominant performance of his young career against Baltimore.
The numbers back it up as well as in less than a full season as a starter, DeCastro already is the NFL’s fourth highest-ranked guard in Pro Football Focus’ player grading.
DeCastro has picked up things rather quickly and is drawing rave reviews from teammates. Bell, who rushed for 51 of his 93 yards Sunday running right behind DeCastro has had great things to say about the second-year pro, but so has center Fernando Velasco, who lines up right next to DeCastro on every play.
“He’s so smart as far as the game goes, he knows everything that’s going on out there,” Velasco told the Tribune-Review’s Alan Robinson. “He watches a lot of film, so he knows what to expect, and he uses it to his advantage. Being as smart as he is, it gives him an advantage over a lot of guys.”
DeCastro has only 10 NFL games under his belt, but week by week he is starting to resemble an NFL veteran. He has yet to be penalized and has been beaten for only two sacks and two quarterback hits.
He still has a ways to go to maximize his full potential but at the rate he is going, we could see a finished product, as well as a dominant one very soon. It may have taken two years, but DeCastro is starting to look like a guy who will live up to the hype of being a first-round pick.
If he keeps it up, those Faneca comparisons will be legitimate real soon.