With the No. 14 overall pick in the draft, the Dallas Cowboys should be looking to select a true difference-maker. The Cowboys could get difference-makers at cornerback and other need positions in the first round.
Guard is rarely a position that is drafted in the middle of the first round, let alone the late first round. However, David DeCastro is said to be worth that No. 14 pick.
DeCastro is a solid talent coming out of Stanford. He excels because of his technique, toughness and awareness and is an intelligent guy who has sound capability for picking up the blitz.
While not an incredible athlete, DeCastro gets outside quickly on pull blocks—something Stanford loved using him for. He gets up quickly off the snap, blocks defenders incredibly well and can help others block while sticking his man.
DeCastro was part of an offensive line that allowed only nine sacks and supported a running game averaging 207.5 yards per game. His quarterback Andrew Luck had to be pleased with DeCastro, and the Cowboys would surely be happy to have him on their line.
The question is whether or not the Cowboys should be invested in drafting DeCastro at the No. 14 pick. Again, guards are rarely picked this high.
For starters, the Cowboys signed two guards in recent weeks.
Nate Livings came from the Cincinnati Bengals, starting every game for the last two seasons for the Bengals. Livings is the same height as DeCastro (6'5"), but he weighs 16 pounds more than DeCastro (332 pounds to 316). He looks like he should be a starter, having gained experience in the last couple years and helped Cedric Benson and Andy Dalton succeed in Cincinnati.
Mackenzy Bernadeau came from the Carolina Panthers. Bernadeau most likely fits in as a backup since he only started 20 of 47 games in the last three seasons. He's 6'4" and weighs 308 pounds. Thus, DeCastro has a little bit of a size advantage.
However, DeCastro's true advantage on Bernadeau comes with technique, not size or strength. DeCastro likely has a technique advantage on starting guards and more of an advantage on backups.
David Arkin and Bill Nagy are two more backups for Dallas. Nagy played four games in 2011, missing the last 11 with an ankle injury. Like DeCastro, Nagy's more of a technique guy. He probably won't start, but he should be in the mix.
Arkin spent last season as an understudy. He didn't play any games in his rookie year in 2011 coming out of Southwest Missouri State. The 6'5", 310-pounder will likely have to work hard to compete with the newcomers.
Thus, if the Cowboys were to draft DeCastro, he would likely be a shoo-in to start. Livings should earn a starting job in Dallas, and DeCastro could start opposite him.
The Cowboys offensive line has seen a complete overhaul in the last two years. Just this offseason, the Cowboys have made big changes, letting Derrick Dockery, Montrae Holland and Kyle Kosier go, switching Doug Free and Tyron Smith and signing Livings and Bernadeau. DeCastro could become another piece of this overhaul, and he'd probably be the biggest impact player besides Smith on the offensive line.