BY SPNW Staff 07:40PM 04/26/2012

Steelers take Bellevue star DeCastro

Despite all the deep thinking that goes into the NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t need any of it by the time their chance to pick arose Thursday.

An organization long known for grit and toughness from its linemen stayed traditional by selecting former Bellevue High School and Stanford star and offensive lineman David DeCastro with the 24th overall pick.

Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert was asked if DeCastro was a no-brainer that late in the first round.

“Yes,” he said.

DeCastro was projected by most as the top offensive guard in this year’s draft after pushing people around for three years on Stanford’s dominant offensive line.

David DeCastro was the Steelers' kind of offensive lineman. / Stanford University photo

“Before the draft, we identified several players that we’d trade up to get, and he was one of them,” Colbert said.

Turns out, they didn’t have to bother.

At 6 foot 5, 316 pounds, DeCastro is able to handle various inside pass-rushing styles. He’s also mobile enough to pull in run blocking or slide to pick up the blitz.

Those attributes, combined with a serious and ornery on-field approach, led DeCastro to allow just one sack in his Stanford career. It happened his redshirt freshman season in 2009.

“The draft has so many variables,” DeCastro, who some thought would go as high as No. 11, said. “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.”

After starring at Bellevue High School, DeCastro started all 39 games at right guard during his three playing years at Stanford. He was part of a Cardinal offensive line that allowed just 24 sacks during those three seasons. DeCastro left Stanford as a junior, according to eligibility, but has graduated.

DeCastro grew up a Seahawks fan, and has said he was a big fan of former Seahawk left guard Steve Hutchinson. The Seahawks passed him over with the 15th overall pick, opting for speed rusher Bruce Irvin from West Virginia instead.

“Funny story, I wasn’t the biggest Steelers fan growing up,” DeCastro said. “(They) beat us in Super Bowl XL. Now I am the biggest Steelers fan there is.”

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said DeCastro is a right guard. It appears DeCastro will have a shot at starting as a rookie on a Steelers offensive line that is in flux at guard.

“Everything we would ask him to do, you saw him do at Stanford,” Tomlin said.

“This kid is an exceptional player,” Colbert said. “His football demeanor is all business and no nonsense. That was really attractive to us.”

The Steelers have taken an offensive lineman with two of their past three first-round picks. In 2010, they selected Maurkice Pouncey with the 18th pick, and he went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season.


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