Many in “Steeler Nation” were ecstatic after Pittsburgh’s brass selected David DeCastro with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Not only were the Steelers able to select the top-rated offensive guard in that year’s draft class, but they were also filling an enormous need with that selection as well. Hopes were so high for DeCastro that the former Stanford star was even issued Alan Faneca’s old number (66).
Unfortunately for DeCastro and the Steelers, disaster struck during the team’s third preseason game last fall when the rookie offensive guard was lost for what ultimately proved to be the first 13 games of the regular season due to a knee injury. To his credit, DeCastro fought back to play in Pittsburgh’s final three regular season contests and salvaged at least some experience during his rookie campaign.
Now in year two, Pittsburgh’s right guard is finally beginning to realize his tremendous potential and has shown improvement on a weekly basis. In fact, DeCastro is coming off of what is arguably the best performance of his career against the Baltimore Ravens last weekend.
The second-year guard did a tremendous job of holding up at the point of attack against Haloti Ngata, Marcus Spears, and Arthur Jones, helped his teammates gain 141 rushing yards, and did a solid job in pass protection. In addition, DeCastro looked quick on his feet, and definitely appeared to be fully recovered from the knee injury he sustained last August.
With extended experience at the professional level under his belt, DeCastro has been keenly aware of how the game has “slowed down” for him in recent weeks according to a recent article by Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com:
The game slows down to where you just see things and notice things that you don’t have to think about as long, … It doesn’t take as long to process things. You just see, ‘Oh, that’s that,’ and your mind already knows before you have to think about it, just real little things, subtle things that make a difference.
As I alluded to before, DeCastro has looked better each and every week this fall. His work in the running game last Sunday was particularly awesome, and it definitely looks like the former Stanford standout will be a mainstay for the Steelers at right guard for years to come.
Pittsburgh has not had a mainstay at the right guard position since Kendall Simmons was in town, so I am extremely excited and intrigued to see how much DeCastro is able to improve while the game “slows down” for him during the rest of the regular season.
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