Steelers News

James Daniels Honored To Follow David DeCastro At RG: ‘His Picture Is Hanging In The Offensive Line Room’

The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the best offensive lines in football during the 2010s, through a period of years that largely and uncoincidentally coincides with the tenure of Mike Munchak as the team’s offensive line coach. They produced three Pro Bowl linemen during that period, with right guard David DeCastro ultimately emerging as their best player toward the end of their run together.

A 2012 first-round pick, DeCastro’s plug-and-play beginning was delayed due to a torn MCL suffered during the preseason, but by 2013, he was beginning to establish himself. As Munchak came on board in 2014, DeCastro began to find the sort of consistency that defined the best part of his career, making him a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro during a nine-year career.

Presumably now retired, he struggled through injury during his final season in 2020, and wasn’t quite the same as he could have been because of it, but he still leaves quite a legacy in Pittsburgh over 124 starts.

New Steelers right guard James Daniels doesn’t take that reputation lightly. Signed in free agency this offseason, he is expected to take over that starting spot in 2022, which was filled by veteran fill-in Trai Turner last year after the team learned that DeCastro’s injury would require surgery that would prevent him from playing in 2021.

He was considered one of the best guards of the 2010s”, Daniels acknowledged in speaking to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently, during OTAs. “His picture is hanging in the offensive line room, so it’s very honorable I am getting a chance to do my best to carry on his legacy”.

DeCastro was a no-nonsense guy when it came to getting his work done on the field, and though they didn’t need him to be a vocal leader with Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster in the same room, he came to be regarded as one anyway, especially through his example.

Now Daniels, who is still just 24 himself and yet is the most experienced lineman on the Steelers’ current roster, is taking over the primary leadership role of the entire room. Gone are all of those great linemen of the previous decade, the time now for the next group to build its own identity and legacy.

Normally, Pittsburgh likes to build through the draft, but they felt that they needed to, and were able to, supplement the room via free agency this year. It’s not easy to replace a player or a person like DeCastro, and Daniels is hoping to prove that they made the right choice in landing on him as their option as successor.

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