Last year, finally after his eighth season of steady play that helped guide the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl berths, winning one, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was finally selected to his first Pro Bowl. In 2015, another standout should make his rookie appearance in the game, and it may not necessarily be the only one.
On offense, guard David DeCastro emerged last season as one of the best guards in the NFL and he’s a major reason why running back Le’Veon Bell led all the AFC in rushing. Perhaps his finest moment last year was in the team’s 42-21 win over division rival Cincinnati, where he repeatedly blew open gaping holes for Bell to go crazy to the tune of
26 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
That day, the team ran the counter play until the cows came home, and they ran it with devastating success. On this play, DeCastro’s responsibility is pulling and leading Bell, and it eventually wore down the Bengals defensive line. Oh and on another note, Geno Atkins, one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the game as far as getting after the quarterback, recorded a pedestrian 3 tackles due to DeCastro holding him in check.
“The Bengals’ guys were tired of seeing him coming around by the end of the game,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said, according to Scott Brown, ESPN Steelers reporter.
The team’s first round pick in 2012, He admits that from his rookie season the game has slowed down some for him, and that’s a good thing for Pittsburgh.
“The game slows down to where you just see things and notice things, and you don’t have to think about as long,” DeCastro said, according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The mind already knows before you even have to think about it. Those are the real little things, subtle things, that make a difference.”
DeCastro even admits himself he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but the team goals, such as division and Super Bowl titles, are first in the pecking order. However, he’s not the only teammate who recognizes this, as does another Pro Bowler who sets up shop right next door to DeCastro.
“He’s definitely Pro Bowl caliber and All-Pro caliber,” center Maurkice Pouncey said, according to Dan Scifo of the Associated Press. “I think everybody knows the potential he has and the year he had last year was excellent. He’s putting in the work and it’s definitely going to show.”
With another offseason of hard work, DeCastro will look to elevate his team to new heights in 2015, which undoubtedly has Bell as the number one draft pick in fantasy football circles, suspension be damned. A tough, hard-nosed player, he’s also shaped his game into more of a technician, using his smarts to set up blockers and allow put his technique to good use instead of an all-out mashing style. Coincidentally, DeCastro is often compared to former Steelers’ standout guard, Alan Faneca. And again, coincidentally, Faneca made his first Pro Bowl in his fourth year in the league, 2001. It set off a string of 9 consecutive trips, and next season, DeCastro is poised to do the same.