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Kevin Zeitler or David Decastro: History Shows They Both Should Succeed


In the 2012 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals were put in a very interesting position. With a need at offensive guard and the player that was called "the best guard in the draft" still on the board the decision was not hard right? Well the Bengals decided to trade down in the draft and then drafted the second best guard in the draft. Now Kevin Zeitler's success will be measured against David DeCastro success and vica versa. When looking at their blocking consistency grades and history, both appear to be destine to succeed in NFL.

-Introduction-

In 1985 the NFL Draft Report came up with a statistical way to measure an offensive linemen's play on the field. They decided to score certain factors of on field play and give it a percentage score. Like any grade the ultimate goal is a 100% percent. Since 1985 only eight players have achieved this ultimate goal more than once. Even more rare only Decastro, Zeitler and two other players have had multiple 100% grades in the same season. The following is the list of players with a brief description of their careers to receive multiple perfect blocking grades. I will start with the players who did not have the 100% grade in the same season.

-Evidence in History-

Player #1-

Will Sheilds, OG Kansas City Chiefs (1993-2006)

As a Nebraska Corn Husker Will Shields was an All- American, and was also the first person to achieve a 100% blocking grade twice. The first was his game against Kansas in 1991 the second came a year latter against Oklahoma in 1992. Shields was a third round pick for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. Sheilds stared every game he played for the Kansas City Chiefs. From 1995 to 2006 he reach 12 straight Pro Bowls. During that span he also had 9 All-Pro seasons and was voted into the 2000's All Decade teams. Will Shields was selected as a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2012. Shields during his time in the NFL was considered one of the best guards to ever play the position.

Player #2-

Johnathan Ogden, OT Baltimore Ravens (1996-2007)

Johnathan Ogden was an unanimous All-American LT for the ULCA Bruins prior to entering the NFL. Ogden received a 100% blocking consistency grade from NFL Draft report for his play against Arizona State in 1994 and a year later in 1995 against the University of Miami. Ogden was then taken in the first round in 1996 as the first ever pick of the Baltimore Ravens. After his rookie season Ogden made the Pro Bowl 11 straight times from 1997-2007. He also was an All Pro Player 9 times including an eight year straight span from 1997-2004. Ogden won a Super Bowl in 2001 and retired in 2007 He was selected to the 2000 All-Decade team. He is considered a major candidate for the Hall Of Fame in 2013.

Player #3-

Orlando Pace, OT St. Louis Rams (1997-2008) Chicago Bears (2009)

Before playing 13 years in the NFL Orlando Pace was an Ohio State Buckeye. As a two time consensus All-American he earned his 100% blocking consistency against Indiana in 1995 and against Pittsburgh in 1996. Pace was than selected as the first overall pick in 1997 to the St. Louis Rams. During his 12 years with the Rams Pace was voted to 7 straight Pro Bowls from 1999-2005 and was selected to 5 All-Pro teams. Orlando Pace was also selected to the 2000's All Decade Team.

Player #4-

Jake Long, OT Miami Dolphins (2008-present)

Jake Long was a two time consensus All-American with the Michigan Wolverines. He earned his two 100% blocking grades against Michigan State in 2006 and Minnesota in 2007. Long was then the first overall pick in 2008 to the Miami Dolphins. He has started every year and has made the Pro Bowl every year so far 2008-2011. Long was voted as a second team All-Pro in 2009 and first team All-Pro in 2010. Currently Jake Long is considered along with Joe Thomas as the best LT in the game right now.

Those were the players that earned two 100% grade in different years. Now lets look at the players who earned that honor in the same year.

Player #5-

Tony Boselli, OT Jacksonville Jaguars- (1995-2001)

Tony Boselli was a three time All- American for the University of Southern California Trojans. He earn his 100% blocking consistency grades against Baylor in 1994, Arizona in 1994 and California in 1994. He was drafted in the 1995 NFL draft as the second overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He quickly became a center piece of their line earning 5 consecutive Pro-Bowl selections and 3 All-Pro selections. Boselli career was cut short due to a chronic shoulder injury which eventual left him out of the NFL in 2002.

Player #6-

Larry Allen, OG Dallas Cowboys (1994-2005) San Francisco (2006-2007)

At Division II Sonoma State Larry Allen was a two time All-American, He earned his two 100% blocking grades against Cal-State Heyward and San Francisco State in 1993. Larry Allen was drafted by in 1994 in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys. After that he had what could be considered nothing short of an amazing career for an NFL offensive linemen. In 1994 he was elected to the All-Rookie team. Then starting in 1995 he was voted to 11 straight Pro Bowls (1995-2006) and 7 straight All Pro selections (1995-2001). He was voted to the Pro Bowl and All Pro at least once at three different positions LT, RG and LG. Larry Allen was also voted to the the 1990's All-Decade Team and the 2000's All-Decade team.

Players #7-

David DeCastro, OG Pittsburgh Steelers (2012 1st Round 24th Overall pick.)

DeCastro started all 39 games he played in at right offensive guard for the Stanford Cardina. He finished his stellar career with 316 knockdowns, 68 touchdown-resulting blocks and a blocking consistency grade of 91.63%. His grade of 96.88% in 2011 was the highest mark by any offensive lineman (since consistency grades were kept in 1985) in Pac-12 Conference history. ( remember that includes both Johnathan Ogden, and Tony Boselli) DeCastro earned his first 100% grade against Colorado in 2011. Then later that season after a 14 knock down and five touch down resulting block game against Washington he earned his second. Prior to the draft he was considered one of the best guards to come out since the Steelers former guard Alan Faneca or Steve Hutchinson.

Player #8-

Kevin Zeitler, OG Cincinnati Bengals (2012 1st Round 27th Overall Pick)

Zeitler started 35-of-39 games that he played in for Wisconsin since the beginning of his sophomore campaign in 2009, holding the distinction of being the only active player (at least two years as a starter) in the Big Ten Conference to not allow any quarterback sacks during his career…The right offensive guard has posted 360 key blocks/knockdowns that included 68 touchdown resulting blocks and 28 more blocks down field…The lineman has been penalized just three times as a collegian and has a blocking consistency grade of 89.57 percent, scoring at least 90 percent in 23 contests…His string of thirteen consecutive 90 percent-plus blocking consistency performances in 2011 set the school record and is shattered the Badgers’ annual record of nine 90 percent-plus contests recorded by offensive tackle Joe Thomas in 2006. Zeitler recorded his two 100% consistency grades againnst Indiana and later against Penn State who had arguably the best DT tandem in the NCAA in 2011.

-Prediction-

So lets say that Zeitler and DeCastro despite their pre draft hype have a career that is the exact average of the other six. If I average all of the careers of the six other players who received multiple 100% blocking consistency grades we get;

10.5 years in the NFL, 8 Pro Bowls and 5 All Pros and that is including the incomplete career of Jake Long in that average.

I'd say that is a pretty damn good career for a first round pick but what if the average only takes into account the five players who have finished their careers well the average is then;

12 years in the NFL, 9 Pro Bowls, and 6 All Pros again not bad for a bottom half of the first round pick. The minimum in this would be Boselli's 7 year career, 5 Pro Bowls and 3 All Pros and the maximum in this would be Will Shields 14 seasons 12 Pro Bowls and 9 All Pros.

-Conclusion-

The intent of this post was not to guarantee anything but to show that both Zeitler and DeCastro have a high probability of great success in the NFL. Considering how hard it is to get just one 100% grade ( Zeitler was just the fourth player in Wisconsin's history to achieve it) it is no surprise the players that have received multiple 100% grades have all been dominant in the NFL. I believe that it is fair to say Zeitler and DeCastro can both be All-Pros, I would even go as far to say with both of their football intelligence and work ethic there is almost no ceiling for these two. Of course injury could put an end to any of this but if they remain healthy look for both to have great careers and the offensive lines of two AFC North teams to get far better starting this year.

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