He could be one of the highest draft picks at the guard position in recent years, and he could easily go in the top 10.
He demonstrates a good snap upon contact with defenders and is usually the one providing the drive-back pressure on his man. Once locked on his man, he can drive and maneuver them at will using his very strong upper body.
Decastro is extremely controlled in his movements, and he has body control and overall balance that is rare for a man his size. Decastro is very athletic on the move and can key in and adjust on his moving target well.
It's nearly impossible to find many weak points in Decastro's play throughout college, and he could easily be the best lineman on his team as a rookie.
There were times in 2011 when he would fall off his blocks at times -- although never an effort issue, there are some slight hitches in his bending and footwork as he is engaged in contact and moving downfield that cause him to fall off slightly.
He is not a very violent puncher with his hands but doesn't necessarily need to be being the technician that he is."
The highly sought-after high school recruit redshirted his first year on The Farm, and then earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 accolades after starting all 13 games at right guard in 2009. He again started every contest in his sophomore season, this time getting the full support of league coaches as first-team all-conference material.
It seems as though Stanford runs behind a pulling DeCastro on three out of four run plays because his prowess as a blocker on the move is impressive. Although he is not an elite athlete, the Washington native simply does get not beaten in pass protection, either. Sound technique, excellent toughness, and intelligence are all traits scouts look for in a first-round interior offensive line prospect--and DeCastro has them all in spades.
Pass Blocking: Solid pass protector who just doesn't get beat. Possesses enough anchor to keep quarterbacks clean, will reset hands to get leverage if giving a bit off the line. Keeps feet moving and head up after initial contact to stay in front of his man. Capable of blocking down with one hand, then sliding to help tackle on the same play. Very aware of late blitzers, can stone them or ride them out of the pocket. Usually keeps arms extended in pass pro to maintain distance with hia man. Better linemen will win some hand battles and get a bit of push in the pocket. Overextends at times, but recovers well.
Run Blocking: Excels as a run blocker in power, zone, and when on the move. Keeps eyes up to pick up nearest target. Once his man is on the ground, stays on top until the play is away. Rarely allows defenders to sidestep him. Not a dominant drive-blocker, though he can overwhelm lesser talent off the snap and will keep his legs churning after contact. Stronger tackles can anchor or move him a bit off the snap, though he rarely get beat, usually using momentum to ride them from the hole--sometimes putting them the ground.
Pulling/Trapping: Coaches rely his quick feet to lead the way on pulls outside and traps inside. Reaches second level in a hurry, has natural bend and flexibility to get correct angle on target. Does not always dominate smaller defenders after initial contact, falling off instead of latching on, but sometimes takes out multiple targets with strong glancing blows. Will miss inside target on occasion, giving max effort to cut or reach the linebacker as he goes by.
Initial Quickness: Very good off the snap, gets hands onto his man immediately and is rarely beaten with initial pass rush move. Swims over tackle at times to reach second-level defenders. Gets some push in goal line situations by coming off hard and low.
DownField: Does not have elite foot speed, but has more than enough to be used often as a lead blocker outside the tackle. Very effective negating targets seven or eight yards downfield. Inconsistent sustaining against stroner linebackers and defensive backs, will lower his head and targets can disengage too easily with a punch.
Intangibles: Solid work ethic and character. Known for his work on the practice field and in the weight room. Durable linemen who could play every snap in any scheme. Chose Stanford for its academic standards."
- Sits into his stance well and exhibits a flexible lower half.
- Showcases good initial quickness off his frame when asked to reach defenders trying to shoot gaps on either side of him in pass protection.
- Keeps his base down through contact and exhibits natural balance when asked to slide his feet laterally.
- Extends his arms well, exhibiting good hand placement under the chest plate of defenders and sticks well through contact.
- Showcases quick hands when asked to re-set through the play and maintain leverage laterally.
- Rarely gets overextend/off balance with his footwork through contact. Showcases natural fluidity when asked to shuffle and slide, and with ease can push his man past the pocket inside.
- Exhibits plus range laterally, can re-direct cleanly and is tough to side-step/disengage from in pass protection.
- Keeps his head on a swivel, locates blitzing linebackers quickly and works well in tandem with his center.
- Has a toughness/mean streak about his game, demonstrates a passion and takes pride in finishing his man in all areas of the game.
- A dominant force in the run game. Exhibits a "plus" first step off the ball as an in-line blocker and showcases an explosive snap through the hips into contact.
- Displays excellent snap awareness, is routinely the first lineman off the ball and into contact.
- Extends his hands well at the point in-line and generates good power on contact from his upper body as well.
- Is a technician when trying to create a push in-line, gains leverage, keeps his base under him and can overpower/push bigger lineman off the ball.
- Sticks well through contact, exhibits a natural feel, understands angles and can walk bigger lineman away from the play.
- Showcases excellent range when asked to pull from the backside, has the ability to lead through the hole and eliminate defenders on contact.
- Displays "plus" body control/coridnation breaking down in space, gets around blocks quickly in order to seal through contact.
- Looks natural chipping at the line, generating a powerful jolt on the opposing down lineman and cleanly scraping his way into the second level to seal.
- Possesses the flexibility to drop his pad level and cut down defenders on the move.
- Is a guy you can run behind in short yardage situations. Fires off the ball low, there is a real explosive element to his game as he gains leverage and creates a push form his lower half.
What I don't like…
- Lacks elite anchor strength. Can be overpowered a bit at the point of attack vs. the bull rush.
- Would like to see a more violent punch on contact, displays good hand placement, but not a real jarring pop at the point.
- Can be unwound at the waist and get upright at the point of attack vs. bigger lineman working the bull rush, causing him to "skate" into the backfield.
- Will get a bit overextended in-line as he tries to finish, causing him to lose balance and will fall off blocks through the play.
- Lacks elite natural power in his lower half and if he loses off the snap doesn't have the kind of natural strength to simply overwhelm and create a push.
Impression: The best offensive line prospect I've evaluated since Maurkice Pouncey in 2010. He showcases the ability to get a push in-line and is a dominant move player as well. He's fluid/natural in pass protection and with a little more power in his base he's got the skill set to become on of the leagues best guards early in his NFL career."
Run Blocking: DeCastro excels as a run blocker. He played RG in Stanford’s power run scheme. He has the quickest first step of any OL in this draft and is routinely the first off the ball. Uses leverage really well and keeps a solid base under him through contact. He excels in space, in the screen game or pulling, with his footwork and ability to break down. He’s not a dominant drive blocker but has a nastiness about his game that will allow him to play to the whistle. High effort guy that will give his all with each play.
Technique: Maybe the top technician that the guard position has seen. He’s so smart and understands angles better than any OL in this draft. His footwork is near perfect as he rarely is caught out of position due to his feet. He is sticky through contact and has a lightning quick first step. He wins battles based on superior technique which I can’t say for many collegiate OL.
Athleticism/Strength: DeCastro isn’t an elite athlete but possesses enough quickness and lateral agility to be effective pulling or getting into the second level. At times, he looks more comfortable working in space than in-line. Could be the best guard that I’ve seen in the screen game. DeCastro could stand to add some bulk as his anchor strength isn’t on par with other top guards. He could stand to more violent on contact with his hands as well. He more than makes up for these minor flaws with his technique and overall skill but another 5-10 pounds would do him well.
Bottom Line: There is not much not to like about David DeCastro. He could add some bulk/anchor strength but that would be nit-picking arguably the top guard prospect in the modern era of football. DeCastro is so technically sound from top to bottom that it’s hard to find a flaw in any facet of his game. DeCastro is a sure thing in my book that I expect to be a perennial Pro Bowler.
Draft Projection: He may challenge Chris Naeole, who went 10th overall in 1997, as a top 10 guard."
Places his hands inside and is strong to control defenders. Extends, shuffles and mirrors. Fires out of his stance low and generates movement in the run game. Good mobility and body control to pull and lead through the hole.
Occasionally ducks his head, bends at the waist and slips off blocks but should be a plug-and-play starter in a movement or power scheme, fitting well in any type of offense."
DeCastro is mean, nasty, and wants nothing more than to put defenders on their back. He won't wow you with this athleticism but he is more than capable. His ability to reach the 2nd level and get out in front of backs is impressive.
In the passing game, DeCastro shows a strong base and good balance which allows him to anchor after initial contact. He also has quick feet which help him mirror rushers. His strength, leverage, and nastiness are what makes him a good run blocker It is important to note that he has experience with pro style blocking schemes thanks to Stanford's offensive scheme.
He does so many things well that it is difficult to find flaws. However, I am not completely sold on his listed height and weight. He appears to be shorter than 6-5 which isn't a major issue but something to keep an eye on. He also appears to have short arms which could impact his ability to keep defenders off his frame.
Overall, DeCastro is a top notch prospect that has the ability to anchor a NFL offensive line for years. I would be interested to see how he handles center because that would increase his value. He gets off the ball and his hands up quickly which makes a move to center possible.
Bold Statement: DeCastro will be selected in the 1st round and the first interior lineman selected
Games Viewed: Virginia Tech ('10), California ('10), USC ('10), Oregon ('10)
- Castro is a solidly build, barrel chested, offensive guard
- He has great weight distribution with solid base
- His quickness allows him to be an effective down the field blocker (wreaks havoc at the 2nd level)
- Castro is the type of guy you want pulling and leading the charge through the hole
- He has a good natural bend with a powerful lower half that allows him to anchor after contact
- From the eye test, DeCastro appears to be shorter than his listed 6-5 height
- DeCastro explodes off the ball and rolls his hips into the defender creating a powerful jolt
- In pass protection, he is always balanced and keeps his head on a swivel
- He has a great base that makes it difficult for defenders to push him off the line
- His nastiness is very apparent as he is always looking to put defenders on their backs
- DeCastro is a very good run blocker and moves people off the ball with ease
- His heavy hands make it difficult for defenders to disengage from the block"
Also is very light on his feet with good balance and body control; dominating drive blocker gets off the snap very quickly, keeps pads low and plays to the whistle; also very effective pulling and making a block on the move;
Technically solid pass with a nice slide step who gets good arm extension; smart, well-disciplined player seldom makes mistakes."
Positions himself between the defender and the running lane and drives said defender as far away from it as possible... Extremely impressive run blocker that doesn't give up on the block... Very good at pulling and shows great speed and vision to get to the edge and make a block...
Really sets the edge on his pulls and often times makes that one block a back needs to get to the second level... Uses his hands very well when blocking in both the run and passing game... Good pass protector... Gets good extension with his arms to keep a defender at a distance and is very mobile when the pocket moves...
Is constantly pushing and driving his defender away from the quarterback... Will be the cornerstone of an NFL offensive line for years to come... Is very much a "sure thing" and there is no doubt that he is physically and fundamentally ready for the NFL...
Without question is regarded as the best guard in this draft class and his play on the field does everything to back that up... There have been four interior offensive linemen drafted in the Top 21 in the last three years (Mack, Iupati and the Pouncey twins) but it wouldn't be a surprise if DeCastro goes higher than any of them.
Negatives -- None of his weaknesses are glaring... Hard to find any negatives, if any... Doesn't do a great job when he has a tackle on his inside gap and has to block down, needs to be a little quicker in that regard...
Again, overall he is a physically imposing player with tremendous technique and he played in a system that will lead to a favorable transition to the NFL... Some team is going to be very happy with him for a long time."
Almost everything about this young man jumps out at you. With that in mind, he isn't a special athlete but beyond that, DeCastro has all the tools necessary to be an elite lineman.
He can mirror with the best of them because of great footwork. He's got a great base that can anchor and hold up defenders. DeCastro has a thick frame from top to bottom and does very well to keep leverage with his pad level.
Ask any offensive line coach what's that one trait they'd like to see in their linemen and almost all of them would tell you they want to see mean streak. DeCastro has that in spades. He'll bang hands with a guy, will him to the ground with any means necessary and is not a dirty player.
Displays a great natural bend in his knees and waist, rarely caught overextending. ON running plays, he's a tank with great hands that can explode into the second level with ease. He's very strong in his lower half and quick enough to pull out of the tackle box.
In pass protection, he doesn't get caught getting upright and does well to absorb contact without collapsing the pocket. DeCastro may not be a sexy pick, but he is the type of player teams can build around for the next decade."