With the 2017 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certain players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.
Player: G David DeCastro
Stock Value: Even
Since the Steelers drafted guard David DeCastro out of Stanford in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, he has been on a consistently upward trajectory—or at least he was, until he hit his peak during the 2015 season. That year, he not only made the Pro Bowl for the first time, he was also named a first-team All-Pro.
Frankly, I don’t know that he can get much better than that, and there really isn’t much higher for him to go, period. While he did not quite have the same season last year, he did make the Pro Bowl again, and was named to the All-Pro list on the second team.
Perhaps the biggest issue that he had last season was with penalties, which was never a standout problem for him earlier in his career, so it would be easy if one were so inclined to trivialize that point as an outlier in his career, and I think that perhaps that is a fair estimation of his penalties in 2016 and the likelihood of them reoccurring in 2017.
DeCastro has made significant strides over the course of the past two seasons with respect to become both stronger and more aware in pass protection, as his work in this department was taken to another level. He no longer struggles with stunts nor bull rushes, other than on the rare occasion, as any lineman would.
His strength, however, has always been his work in the run game, and it was as early as his second season that the Steelers began to feature him in some of their staple runs, often pulling him around the left end to open holes to the perimeter.
This was an area in which he had less success a year ago than in prior seasons, which is partly attributable to drawing holding penalties while doing so, but this is still something that he does at a high level, and the success of the running game would indicate that.
I do think that he can and will play better than he did last season, but I see what he did in 2015 as his peak abilities. We have already seen the best from him, and that is a player every bit worth the contract that he signed making him one of the highest-paid players at his position.