It might not feel like it, especially in light of the fact that he wasn’t included on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020 list earlier this year, but the Pittsburgh Steelers’ David DeCastro is still well-respected among offensive guards around the league, even after a dismal season in 2019 in which he admitted that it sucked to play and wasn’t fun.
He did get voted into the Pro Bowl for his own performance, he and Maurkice Pouncey representing the only two offensive players named, and the latter’s, frankly, being kind of honorary based on his own play. But that’s five straight seasons of Pro Bowls now for DeCastro, even if he has missed the All-Pro list in each of the past two.
Pro Football Focus would appear to believe that was an error, as the site recently ranked him the fifth-best interior offensive lineman in the NFL heading into the 2020 season, and that was third among guards, behind Quenton Nelson and Zack Martin, with centers Jason Kelce and Alex Mack rounding out the top five. Ben Linsey writes of DeCastro:
DeCastro doesn’t bring the same flash as some of the other guys near the top of this list, but he continues to go about his business as one of the game’s best guards. Few can claim to be better in pass protection than DeCastro has been in recent seasons. Pretty much any subset of pass-blocking grade that highlights a player’s true pass-protection ability — plays without play action, plays with five- or seven-step dropbacks, true pass sets, etc. — finds DeCastro’s name near the top of the list over the last five seasons. He’s also used pretty heavily as a pulling blocker on power and counter plays in Pittsburgh, something they had a lot of success with prior to this past season on an offense that was hit hard by injuries.
With a healthy offense around him, DeCastro should get more opportunities to really show off the ‘flash’ that he can offer as an elite pulling guard. There have been entire games in which the Steelers seemed to be able to take over by exploiting his ability to pull and dictating the pace and momentum of the contest.
A first-round pick back in 2012, he was set to be a day-one starter before a torn MCL in the preseason set him back. He hasn’t missed many games since 2013, however, and has been decorated with at least Pro Bowl distinction in every year since 2015.
Now heading into his ninth season and at the age of 30, one does begin to wonder how many years he has left in him. One would hope that he at least plays as long as Ben Roethlisberger does. He is currently under contract through 2021.