View Full Version : DeCastro NOT worth a 1st round pick

tony hipchest
02-28-2012, 09:57 AM
alot of people think he could be the final piece in solving the steelers O-line woes, but heres a compelling argument why not to use the 24th pick on him. (kirwan knows his shit)

Stanford guard DeCastro has upside, but is he worth a first-round risk?

Monday February 27, 2012 - 6:30 AM

The combine evaluations are well under way. Some of the projected first-round picks have impressed and others have raised some questions. There's no doubt Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin have solidified their positions at the top of the draft with outstanding work. But others have created some doubts, at least in the minds of a few.

I am glad I waited until today to investigate this question about Stanford guard David DeCastro because as I boarded my plane to leave the combine, I wound up sitting next to a former Stanford coach who spent three years with DeCastro and knows him very well. Before my flight, I sat down with an NFL head coach, a personnel director and an offensive line coach to discuss the idea of a guard getting drafted in the first round.

There is plenty of speculation that DeCastro is not only the top guard in the draft, but he should be selected in the first round.

As one personnel director said, "Not so fast when it comes to taking a pure guard in the first round." Consider that no more than four pure guards have been selected in the first round since 2000, and the average spot those were guards taken was in the second half of the round.

DeCastro will be fighting an uphill battle to hold his spot in the top 32. He needs to be clean as a whistle in the weeks of evaluations that are coming up across the league.

DeCastro was born in South Africa before his parents moved to America, and football wasn't really a part of the DeCastro family culture. As the former Stanford coach said, "He really didn't know much about football when we got him and it took a few years for him to even use his hands in pass blocking." When you factor in that information, it is impressive he's even in the conversation for a first-round selection.

DeCastro ran a slow 40 at the combine (5.43) but he did demonstrate explosive skills with his vertical leap, standing broad jump and bench press. I like to add up the three scores; if the score hits 70 or better, you've got an explosive player. DeCastro's three-score total was 72, which is very impressive for an offensive lineman.

For me, it means he can compete in the combat zone. He also came through with the top score for offensive linemen in the three-cone drill (7.3), which indicates he can move, pull and adjust in space. The debate about his physical ability should be won by those who want to draft him in the first round, but the film study might tell a different story, according to one head coach I spoke with about DeCastro. He said for his team to take a guard in the first round instead of a left tackle, he has to be as good as Steve Hutchinson was coming out of Michigan, and I'm not real sure DeCastro is in that conversation.

So I went back and watched more tape on DeCastro. I got a chance to watch the Stanford-Oklahoma State game last night with an offensive line coach. He pointed out three things that would concern me as it relates to a first-round grade.

The film indicated DeCastro is a physical guy who really likes to punish a defender when he gets the chance, but saying that, he gets himself in trouble with his overaggressiveness. DeCastro was on the ground six times during the game, usually from an overaggressive technique, and as the line coach pointed out, "That could wind up being 8-10 times in an NFL game."

I know David is a smart player and understands he must control his tempo and trust his technique. Easier said than done, especially for first-round picks who line up as starters in Week 1.

Secondly, DeCastro tends to play too high in his pass sets at times, and is susceptible to a bull rush that will push him back into the QB. He must be more consistent dropping his weight, bending his ankles and knees, and winning the leverage game.

Third, there was a play when DeCastro set for pass protection and the defender vacated and was uncovered. As he waited for the blitzer, he was fooled by a head fake and went to the ground.

Again, when thinking about a first-round guard, there really can't be these kinds of issues. During some of his drill work at the combine, he slipped to the ground, which my line-coach friend was quick to point out.

The next pressure DeCastro faces -- and maybe the toughest of all -- comes from the fact that guards like Cordy Glenn (Georgia), Brandon Washington (Miami) and Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) should be solid picks in the second round.

My good friend Gil Brandt and I talked about taking a guard in the first round. As he pointed out, it isn't the guard you are taking but rather the guy you will be passing up at a franchise position like pass rusher or cornerback that makes it tough to take the guard. His point was: The pass rusher or corner you see in the second round might be much worse than the guard you will see in the second round. It's the value of the pick and the big picture that comes into play when considering a player like DeCastro.

Finally, I know David DeCastro is NFL-ready, yet still has room for growth, which makes him an intriguing prospect. I would not fault a team for taking him in the first round but I will not be shocked if he winds up at the top of the second round. Teams like to take tackles in the first round, and if they don't pan out, move them inside to guard like the Raiders did with Robert Gallery.

02-28-2012, 10:00 AM
I don't like him either. I'd rather have Cordy Glenn, to be honest.

02-28-2012, 10:01 AM
I read this already by the way. That's why the speedy response, lol.

02-28-2012, 10:16 AM
Can't see it. We have a huge need at guard. If DeCastro falls, we should take him. We did it with a center at 16 (or 18, I forget) when they said that was too high. No other person would fill in as immedeate a need at the level he will.

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-28-2012, 10:17 AM
De Castro will be gone by pick 20 at the latest. They may not think that he is as good as Hutchinson, but I think he is better than Mike Pouncey and look where he went last year.

They complained that Alex Mack was on the ground a lot on his film, but its effort. None of the 3 points that coach made were not able to be coached into a player. DeCastro is the most polished interior line prospect to come out in years.

I am still not sold on Glenn at OG. He is a tall waist bender and might not get the pad level and leverage that you want on the interior line. He isnt a LT and in the case that he is a RT only.....he equates to Gosder Cherilus. Still think he is a late 1st or early 2nd round pick that somebody is gonna take around #20.

tony hipchest
02-28-2012, 10:33 AM
some interesting notes in kirwans mock. while he doesnt think the guards are that valuable (1st round) in this years draft, he does know the situation and is tune with how alot of teams think (keep in mind, this is from last week)-


It may feel like this is an AFC North draft because those teams have six picks in the first round.

There's lots of talk of a guard (Stanford's David DeCastro) and a center (Wisconsin's Peter Konz) going high in the first round. There have been six centers taken in the first round since 2000 and they average going at No. 24. Since 2000 there have been two true guards taken in the first round and you have to go all the way back to 1997 to find a top 10 guard.

21. Cincinnati Bengals
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford: It is early to take a guard but if the Bengals want to protect Andy Dalton and run the ball better this is a wise choice.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: I thought Adams struggled on the left side in pass-rush situations at the Senior Bowl. Put him on the right side and watch him road grade the run game.

23. Detroit Lions
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia: He could play tackle or guard. I like him better at guard, much like Carl Nicks of the Saints. He is perfect for the Lions, who have a few offensive line issues and some age. Everyone is thinking back seven on defense for Detroit, but this is too good to pass up.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: The Steelers would love to keep Ziggy Hood at the DE spot. With an aging Casey Hampton (plus a big contract) and the retirement of backup NT Chris Hoke, it is time they get the NT of the future. Poe is athletic and massive.

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-28-2012, 10:45 AM
some interesting notes in kirwans mock. while he doesnt think the guards are that valuable (1st round) in this years draft, he does know the situation and is tune with how alot of teams think (keep in mind, this is from last week)-


Thanks Tony. I question Pat's description of Adams road grading from the right side. Run blocking and aggression wasnt this guy's strong suit.

also, I like the comparison of Nicks and Glenn, but Cordy Glenn is stiffer in the hips and not a knee bender like Nicks. Watch Glenn's short strides in his 40 yard dash and how high he is in his kick slide. If teams think he can be more flexible and get lower.........then Glenn is a true position flexible guy as an OG, RT.

Glenn compares more to me of a faster Flozell Adams than a Carl Nicks.