Editor's note: I have no idea why this story never ran, but I stumbled across it while digging for something else. Explanation isn't necessary as to the awesomeness of this. The draft of this article is dated Feb. 19, 2012.
By far the biggest need going into the 2012 NFL draft is at offensive guard. Both guard spots need to be addressed. The constant carousel of Chris Kemoeatu, Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky, and Trai Essex is absolutely maddening. Especially Kemoeatu with his stupid penalties, although it's likely that he'll be cut this offseason. A lot of people would like to see Willie Colon, who is returning from injury, take one of the guard spots but he may not want switch positions. Plus given his injury history over the last couple of ears and his salary he may be a cap casualty at some point.
So with all of that in mind it's time to discuss a player that has many people in Steelers Nation foaming at the mouth for, Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro. To many he is the Alpha and the Omega, the number one guy and top target for the Steelers come draft day. He is perceived as the perfect prospect so lets take a closer look.
Pros: David DeCastro is one of the most complete guard prospects to come along in years. In the run game he is a dominant force, an absolute road-grader with the ability to shove around defensive tackles and get to the second level to bowl-over linebackers. He's extremely athletic with text book technique and ability to pull. In the passing game he is a stone wall and is as close to being perfect as a prospect can be.
Cons: This may be the shortest "Cons" list I've ever written. The only knock on DeCastro is the lack of elite competition he faced in his final year at Stanford. The only time he faced a top prospect all year was against Washington's Alameda Ta'amu. And for most of the game they weren't even lined up against one another, although the few times they were DeCastro got the better of him each time.
Draft Stock: Barring some kind of scandal like testing positive for PED's or pot or something to that affect DeCastro is going to be taken within the top 21 picks in the draft. If players were taken based solely on talent with no regards for positional importance DeCastro would be a top 5 pick. As it stands now he could go as early as to the Dolphins at 8 who definitely need someone to replace Ritchie Incognito. The most likely landing spots for him are Dallas at 15, Philly, Cincy, San Diego, Chicago, and Tennessee. He certainly won't make it past Cincinnati's second pick at 21.
NFL Player Comparison: Minnesota OG Steve Hutchinson
Hutchinson has been one of, if not the best guards in the NFL over the last decade. He is equally adept at run-blocking and pass protecting and David DeCastro looks to be about the same. It's rare for guards to be top 20 picks but Hutchinson was pick 17 in the 2001 NFL draft and DeCastro should go in the same area, maybe even earlier than Hutchinson did.
Final Word: David DeCastro is everyone in Steelers Nation's dream. He would fill the biggest need and is the perfect prospect. He certainly will not be available when the Steelers make their selection at 24 so the only thing to consider is how much is DeCastro worth to trade up for? Personally I'm all for giving up our first, second, and one of the later round picks for him but I would not want the Steelers mortgaging future draft picks to acquire him.