2012 NFL Draft: How the Pittsburgh Steelers Stole David DeCastro

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2012 NFL Draft: How the Pittsburgh Steelers Stole David DeCastro
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Stanford's David DeCastro has helped keep Andrew Luck clean.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' philosophy of sitting back and letting the draft come to them paid off in a big way Thursday night.

All hell was breaking loose around the Steelers in the 2012 NFL draft. Eight trades were made in the first round while the Steelers quietly waited their turn at No. 24.

Good things come to those who wait. David DeCastro of Stanford, who is the best offensive guard in the draft class and the 10th-best prospect overall according to CBSSports.com, was available to the Steelers at No. 24. They snatched him up.

Guard was one of the Steelers' two biggest needs in the draft; I had them taking Cordy Glenn in my mock draft. There were some troubling words attached to Glenn's name in Pro Football Weekly's scouting report, including "soft temperament," "naive follower" and "not a self-starter."

However, Glenn figured to be the best guard available to the Steelers at No. 24. If he was there, the Steelers would have to take him. He was available when the Steelers picked, but so was DeCastro.

It's like hoping to get a date with Janeane Garofalo and instead getting a date with Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

Before the 6'5", 316-pound DeCastro smashes me for comparing him to Meadow Soprano, let me quickly point out some of the rave reviews on him.

According to CBSSports.com, some scouts say DeCastro is better than Maurkice Pouncey.

DeCastro, who started for three years at Stanford, was responsible for just one sack of Andrew Luck. He recounts it on CBSSports.com as if he's telling a horror story by the campfire.

"Brian Price of UCLA. I set outside and he came back and countered inside. He sacked Andrew."

Sounds like DeCastro doesn't like to allow sacks. Ben Roethlisberger is going to be in good hands.

NFL.com says DeCastro likely will start right away, and that's before they knew he'd be joining a team with such riff-raff at guard as Ramon Foster, Doug Legursky and Trai Essex.

Pro Football Weekly uses terms such as "nasty" and "Pro Bowl-caliber" in its assessment.

So how did DeCastro fall so far?

The first team the Steelers can thank is the Dallas Cowboys. They need help on the interior offensive line and a lot of mock drafts had DeCastro going to Dallas at No. 14.

Instead, the Cowboys traded up to No. 6 and picked Morris Claiborne. That's a good pick for them, but they had to sacrifice their second-round pick to get him.

DeCastro's name was next to the Kansas City Chiefs in many mock drafts, but they passed on him at No. 11, deciding to take a gamble on NFL Scouting Combine Bench Press Champion Dontari Poe.

The Arizona Cardinals could have used DeCastro at 13, but they caved to the wishes of Larry Fitzgerald and took Michael Floyd. How does Fitzgerald find the time to be a receiver and a scout?

The New York Jets need help on their offensive line, but Rex Ryan doesn't care about the offense. They took defensive end Quinton Coples, who's surrounded by question marks, at No. 16.

Like the Cowboys, the Bengals went with the glamorous pick and addressed the secondary instead of the offensive line. They took Dre Kirkpatrick at 17, then traded away their pick at No. 21.

With DeCastro officially sliding, the Steelers got an itchy trigger finger and considered trading up a few spots to grab him, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

But the Steelers remained patient, held on to their remaining nine picks and chose DeCastro at 24.

Even in the days before the draft, the Steelers weren't involved in any of the chatter that turned mock drafts upside down.

The Bills wanted to trade up for an offensive tackle. The Jets wanted to trade up to get Trent Richardson. The Lions wanted to trade up for a cornerback.

None of those rumors came true.

The Steelers didn't bother with such smokescreens. They just stuck to their board.

It was reminiscent of 2008, the last time the Steelers picked in this area of the first round. That year, the big slider was Rashard Mendenhall. He was projected to go in the top half of the first round, but fell to the Steelers at 23.

Even then, offensive line was the Steelers' biggest need. But Willie Parker broke his leg late in the 2007 season, so running back was on their radar and Mendenhall was the best player available, like DeCastro was Thursday.

Mendenhall has been far from a bust, but he's been frustrating at times.

When he comes back from his injury, maybe we'll finally see what he can do behind a good offensive line.

Follow me @Steel_Tweets.

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