Devil’s Advocate: Better Guard – Foster Or DeCastro

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: Who is the Steelers’ best starting guard, Ramon Foster or David DeCastro?

I actually think that this question will generate some interesting answers, because quite frankly I don’t think that there is a clear-cut, obvious answer here. Both Ramon Foster and David DeCastro are above-average contributors at their position, even if one is far less recognized nationally than the other. So who is better?

Now, if we are looking to decide which one we would want to start a roster with, that answer would be obvious: DeCastro. DeCastro is 27, while Foster is 31, and the former is clearly the more athletic of the two, with greater upside.

But if we are talking about, for example, who between them we expect will have a better season in 2017, the answer becomes far less obvious. I think a very fair case could be made that Foster has been the team’s best lineman over the course of at least the past two seasons.

In fact, he has playing some of the best football of his career in his 30s—not that he is getting any more athletic, but he can still pull on the somewhat rare occasions that they ask him to do so. He is not as flashy with the big blocks as is DeCastro, but I think he has the edge in terms of consistency.

We can also bring up the penalties, in which Foster clearly has the edge on DeCastro based on last season, but the frequency of the latter’s penalties last season really feels like an aberration and a regression to the mean should be anticipated, I would think.

So who do you have here? I think the discussion can be boiled down to consistency on one side, and a rare and valuable skillset on the other.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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