Steelers select David DeCastro in first round

2012 NFL DRAFT - Steelers First Round SelectionDAVID DeCASTROOffensive Guard/Center
Stanford University Cardinal
Bellevue, Washington
Bellevue High School
1st Round – 24th Overall

CAREER NOTESDeCastro started all 39 games he played in at right offensive guard for the Stanford Cardinal…Finished his stellar career with 316 knockdowns, 68 touchdown-resulting blocks and a blocking consistency grade of 91.63%...His grade of 96.88% in 2011 was the highest mark by any offensive lineman (since consistency grades were kept in 1985) in Pac-12 Conference history.

2011 SEASONDeCastro was a first-team All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News, American Football Coaches Association and Football Writers Association…Named National Blocker of the Year by The NFL Draft Report, as DeCastro set the conference season-record with a 96.88% grade for blocking consistency…The All-Pac 12 Conference first-team choice and Outland Trophy finalist registered career-bests with 31 touchdown-resulting blocks (second-highest in the major college ranks) while recording 138 knockdowns…Behind his stellar blocking, the front wall allowed just eleven quarterback sacks, but none were charged to DeCastro, who held his blocking assignments to a nation-low total of fourteen tackles (6 solos), no sacks, no pressures and no stops behind the line of scrimmage…Had at least ten knockdowns in nine games and received a perfect grade for blocking consistency (100%) twice – vs. Colorado and Washington…Stanford's 57-3 season opening victory over San Jose State was the result of DeCastro making three touchdown-resulting blocks and twelve knockdowns, including one that took down three defenders on a 23-yard scoring scamper by Stephan Taylor…Added two touchdown-resulting blocks, including one that upended defensive tackle Conrad Obi on a 1-yard scoring plunge by Taylor, as DeCastro graded 100% vs. Colorado…His second perfect score for the season came behind fourteen knockdowns and a record five touch-down resulting blocks vs. Washington, as the right guard flattened All-Pac 12 defensive tackle Alameda Te'Amu on a 45-yard reverse for a score by receiver Chris Owusu. It also marked the first time that Te'Amu was held to no statistics in a game (spanning 39 contests).

2010 SEASONDeCastro was a second-team All-American selection by The NFL Draft Report, as he set a then school season-record with a blocking consistency grade of 90.15% while starting all thirteen games at right guard…Was part of an outstanding offensive line that included first team All American Chase Beeler, Jonathan Martin and Derek Hall, joining that trio in receiving All-Pac 10 Conference accolades…That unit ranked second in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (six), as DeCastro recorded 99 knockdowns and 20 touchdown-resulting blocks…His blocking skills helped pave the way for a Stanford rushing attack to rank 17th in the nation with an average of 213.77 yards and amass the second-highest rushing total (2,779) in school history...One of five players to earn the Frank Rehm Award for outstanding play in the Big Game vs. California, DeCastro also provided stellar pass protection as the Cardinal finished 14th in the nation in total offense (472.46 ypg) and ninth in scoring (40.31 ppg).

2009 SEASONDeCastro took over right guard duties, starting every game, as he garnered All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention…Graded 87.72% for blocking consistency, producing seventeen touchdown-resulting blocks for a rushing attack that placed 11th nationally (218.23 ypg)…Added 79 knockdowns as the team averaged 427.62 yards per game in total offense and ranked eleventh in the major college ranks in scoring (35.46 ppg).

2008 SEASONDid not see action, retaining freshman eligibility.

HIGH SCHOOLDeCastro attended Bellevue (Wash.) High School, playing football for Wolverines head coach Butch Goncharoff…Was an All-State performer on the offensive line, and ranked third in the nation among centers, according to Scout.com…ESPN rated the lineman as the nation's seventh best center, while Rivals.com had him ranked eleventh…Super Prep rated him the third-best overall prospect in the state of Washington, with Scout.com and Rivals.com placing him sixth overall in the state…The Super Prep All-American added All-State honors and was the recipient of the King County Lineman of the Year Award as a senior…The previous season, he helped lead his team to the state title…Went on to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Game following his senior season…Also competed in track, throwing shot put, an event where he captured the 2008 Washington State 3A champion with a throw of 59-3…Also won the district (58-4) and the King County 3A League (58-1 ½) titles, as well…The lineman graduated with a 4.06 grade point average.

PERSONALMajored in management, science and engineering…Son of Jennifer and Colin DeCastro…Born 1/11/90…Resides in Bellevue, Washington.

David DeCastro Conference Call Transcript

DAVID DeCASTROOffensive Guard/Center
1st Round – 24th Overall

Can you describe what it was like getting a call from the Steelers?It was surreal. I was just really excited. There were a lot of hugs. I was kind of stunned. I was just excited to be on a team.

Did you think you would be drafted by the Steelers?I had no expectations going in. I didn't know where I was going, just wait and see what happens.

Re: Kevin Colbert being surprised you were still available:I went into the thing with no expectations. The draft has so many variables. You don't know what's going to happen. I am just thankful that I am on a great team and a great franchise. I am just excited.

How ready are you to step in and play in the NFL?I don't know how to answer that. I think playing in the pro-style offense definitely helps. I think there are a lot of differences, starting with athletic ability and how much technique is used in the professional game.

Re: Playing at Stanford:We had some great coaches and a great strength staff. They pushed us to really work hard. I think they made us ready for the NFL.

Re: Seeing one of the Harbaugh brothers twice a year now:Yeah. Yeah.

Re: History and tradition of the Steelers:I grew up a Seahawks fan. Funny story, I wasn't the biggest Steelers fan growing up. You beat us in Super Bowl XL. Now I am the biggest Steelers fan there is.

How much do you think the offense ran behind your blocks?I know it was quite a bit but I don't have the exact number off the top of my head.

Re: Similarities between Steelers offense and Stanford offense:I've definitely watched the Steelers, and I can see some of the same styles of play

Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert on David DeCastro

Kevin Colbert: Good evening everybody. We are very excited to announce our first pick, David DeCastro, guard, Stanford University. He's a great player, excellent intangibles and character, he's tough, he's a leader, he's smart, everything you could ask for in a player this kid encompasses. We are truly, truly excited that he was available for us at pick 24.

Mike Tomlin: The intangibles are obvious, but he is the unquestioned leader of a very veteran group from a college football standpoint. The guy has great football character and we're excited about putting him into the fold.

Did you think David was a possibility that late in the draft?KC:No, really we didn't think David would be there at 24. We valued him very high. As we said the other day, there were a few special players in this group that we thought would be easy to evaluate and he was one of them.

Are there any negative aspects to David DeCastro?KC:I hope we don't find out any time soon. Those are great stats and they (Stanford) were a great offensive football team. That was an excellent offensive group and when you looked at them, you looked at a pro-style offense. Obviously, they had the number one pick at quarterback so that helped tremendously. Again, when you watch this team run the football, I would say 80 percent of the time David DeCastro was leading the way. This kid is an exceptional player. His football demeanor is all business and no nonsense. That was really attractive to us.

Was he a no-brainer pick?KC:Yes.

Is he a right or left guard?MT:He is a right guard. That's what he has played at Stanford. We are going to work to put our best people on the field and he will be a candidate within that group, obviously. It was just a fun evaluation. He played right guard in Stanford's offense and everything we would ask him to do you saw him do at Stanford, whether it was pulling or the pass-pro in the play-action game. Like Kevin said earlier, a large portion of their run-game went behind him. He made it a fun study. He is just a solid player and prospect in all areas.

You have used three premium picks on offensive linemen early in the past drafts, are there more to come?KC:You can never have enough good players at any one position. As we've done in the past, like last year taking the two cornerbacks, taking an offensive linemen doesn't preclude us from doing it again the next round or somewhere throughout this draft.

Were you worried about other teams jumping in front to take him?KC:We really can't do anything about what other teams are doing behind us, so you start looking at your odds of how many players are left that we would be happy with, and there were several players that were still available for us. David was clearly the guy and we were excited he was there.

Is he a better run blocker or pass blocker?KC: He's great in the line of scrimmage. He can pull. He can trap. He's a solid pass protector. Really, the kid's good.

Was he a player that you wrote off because you didn't think you had a shot at picking him?KC: The only two we really wrote off were the two quarterbacks that went one and two. We knew that was going to happen. There was a group of these guys up top that we'd feel fortunate if they came to us, and fortunately one did.

Do you think other teams are leery about drafting guards?KC: Could be. I can't speak for anyone else other than to say we're glad they didn't take him.

Re: DeCastro's toughnessMT: He's a tough guy. His tape displays that. He doesn't need any endorsement from me. He has a lot of attributes that we think can help us and be positive additions to our football team.

Do you write off any rookies as starters?MT: No, we never do. If they are ready and capable and earn it, they play. That's always been our approach. Pouncey's one that did. There have been some others that have taken some more time. I wouldn't read too much into that. More than anything, it's about the overall readiness of the individual player, whatever player we're talking about.

Did you entertain trading up to get DeCastro?KC: Before the draft, we identified several players that we'd trade up to get, and he was one of them. I'll leave it at that. With every pick the odds increase. When we picked, there was a nice group. We would have been happy with three or four guys that were available at our pick. Really, a better group presented itself than we thought would, but he was one that we identified as possible to trade up to get.

Was Hightower in that group?KC: I don't want to comment on anybody that went behind us, other than to say that he's a great player.

Did you actually try to call and trade up to get him?KC: I'll leave that to the imagination. I'll just say again, we identified several guys that we thought we would entertain trading up to get, and this kid was one of them.

What talents stand out in DeCastro?KC: I just think his overall ability to be aggressive and be athletic at the same time. It shows up on his tape. There's going to be times when he falls through a block, but it's usually four or five yards down the field after he's completed a block. We were out there for his pro day, Coach Kugler and myself made the visit out there, and he had an outstanding pro day. It just solidified what we thought. Quite honestly, it scared us a little bit because he worked out so well that we didn't think there was any way we'd get a shot at him.

MT:  Again, the unique thing about his evaluation is that there's no guess work.  There's always some guess work or projections, if you will, in terms of evaluating guys.  Very little in his because everything that we would ask him to do you see him do, and see him do consistently on tape, whether it's in the running game or the passing game.

David DeCastro Press Conference Transcript4-27-2012

Art II:Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining us today as we introduce our first round draft pick, David DeCastro. I don't think they keep records about this, but I think he may have set the record for shortest time between being drafted and being on a plane to Pittsburgh. Last night, right after we drafted him, I heard he was catching the red eye flight. I appreciate you catching the red eye in. He comes to us, as Coach Tomlin would say, with a strong pedigree, a starting guard for one of the top programs in the country, and one of the top academic schools in the country, Stanford. We've certainly had a lot of opportunities to watch him play, and we are very excited about having him become a Pittsburgh Steeler. I want to present you with your first Steelers jersey. Eventually we will get the number right, but since you are our first round draft pick, you get number one to start with.

Re: Thoughts on being drafted:
It's a life changing moment. As far as the Steelers, I was really excited to be chosen. The organization speaks for itself, and they have arguably one of the best, if not the best fan bases in the world. I am just excited. It's a great football city. I couldn't be happier really.

Re: Not being selected earlier but ending up with the Steelers:
Getting drafted by the Steelers definitely helped overcome the disappointment. I really didn't go into it with any expectations. I knew the draft had a ton of variables, a lot of stuff that can happen, with trades. When the Steelers picked me, I was more than overjoyed.

Have you changed from being a Seahawks fan to a Steelers fan?
I definitely have, not a Seahawks fan anymore.

Were you one of the fans whining about the officiating in Super Bowl XL?
I have no comment.

Re: Andrew Luck being your roommate:
This past season he was.

Are you guys still close, and did you talk yesterday?
Yeah, when he was drafted I gave him a quick call.

Did he call you after you were picked?
He sent me a text. I called him after. I was pretty busy. It was a whirlwind of events.

What have the last 24 hours been like?
I am still trying to catch my breath. I've gotten a bunch of texts and phone calls from people saying congrats. It's an exciting time. I am just really going to enjoy it and enjoy the moment. At the same time I am just excited to finally have a team, get started and play some football.

Re: Expectations for this season:
I have no clue. I just want to play football. I have a long way to go. Obviously, I haven't done anything. The journey is just beginning.

Did your dad play rugby, and when did you start playing football?
Yeah, my parents had no clue about football. Now they know a little bit more. My mom has educated herself quite a bit. I started playing football in high school.

Did you play rugby?

Re: Being an instant celebrity to Steelers' fans:
I can't really speak on that. I've never really been good with attention. I am just a typical lineman. I am going to have to get used to that.

Re: Meeting the Steelers at the combine and expectations of where you might be drafted:
I met with them at the combine. As I said before, it's hard to tell with the draft. A lot of teams like to play games, a smoke-and-mirrors approach. I did not have any expectations.

Re: School obligations:
I have one more quarter after this. Then I will have my degree and be done.

How did you wind up playing your position?
I played both offense and defense in high school. When I got to college I was an offensive lineman, definitely. I played all three positions my freshman year. I moved to right guard my second year and played there since.

What did you like about that position?
It was fun at Stanford. I pulled a lot, and I was blocking out in space. I just enjoyed it.

Re: Stanford's offensive line:
As a program, as linemen, we were just a group of guys that enjoyed working. We weren't worried about the fanfare or attention. We all liked moving the football and getting rushing yards. That's what we were about.

Were you surprised you landed with the Steelers?
Like I said before, the draft is so hard to gage where you are going to go. I am just overjoyed to be a Steeler. That's about all I can say.

Re: Only giving up one sack in three years:
There were probably a couple more where Luck kind of saved me. There is one in the books.

Was it the guy from UCLA?
Yeah, Brian Price.

Re: Taking pride in being athletic and aggressiveDefinitely I take pride in that. It's one of those things you try to work on every day to get better. As a ball player that helps a lot.

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