On one hand, the level of progress he's made in such a low number of snaps is impressive, if not amazing. He emerged as one of the better players at his position in the NFL, and if not for a few injuries in the second half of the year, he could have been considered the best right guard in the game.
On the other, those injuries take their toll after a while. He missed 13 games with a knee injury his rookie season, assumed the starting job upon his return, and played most of 2013, minus some time with an ankle injury.
His overall body of work, though, landed him a spot on MMQB's All Emerge Team for 2014.
The reason, as written by the compiler of the team, Andy Benoit:
This is another player who might not be eligible to "emerge" in the technical sense. Most fans know DeCastro; he entered the league two years ago as just the seventh true guard in 14 years to be taken in the first round. But he was quickly forgotten after his rookie season was all but lost to injury. Last season, a healthy DeCastro was up and down, but some of the ups were astoundingly high (his performance in Week 7 against the Ravens was the most dominant of any guard’s in 2013, save for Andrew Whitworth’s debut inside against the Chargers in Week 13) and his downs became fewer and less frequent. Given the paucity of quality guards in the league right now, DeCastro is just one or two steps away from pushing for All-Pro honors.
If any Steelers player should be considered as a future star of the league, it's DeCastro. Add in the fact he'll benefit from the tutelage of highly successful offensive line coach Mike Munchak, the future is looking up for DeCastro, as well as the Steelers' offense.
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