I thought it was time again to have a look at another college prospect. Rather than focus on QB's, I thought I'd look at interior Olineman, a position of need for the Redskins. The top of the class for interior Olineman is undoubtedly Stanford Guard David DeCastro.
The Redskins began the season with Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester as their starting OGs. They looked good until Lichtensteiger went down injured and exposed a lack of depth at the position. DeCastro has the quality to take either players position. A potential scenario I've just come up with would be plugging him in at LG, and Kory L at Center. I know a lot of you will be sceptical of drafting a guard so highly, considering the Redskins are expected to be drafting in the top 15, if not top 10 (or even top 5) and with the need for a franchise QB it's unlikely we'd take DeCastro at our original pick. The scenario would have to be something like the top QB's are already gone so we trade back (like with Ryan Kerrigan last year) and pick up extra picks. But DeCastro would certainly be worth a top 15 selection based on his ability in comparison with the top interior Olineman last year, Mike Pouncey (drafted by the Miami Dolphins 15th overall).
Lets start with DeCastro's measurable's. He has almost an OT body at 6'5" 310 pounds. For some perspective on that Trent Williams is 6'5", 318 pounds, Kory L is 6'3", 295 and Chris Chester is 6'3", 305. He has a nice weight distribution for his height. This gives him the ability to have enough agility and speed to get to the second level or be a successful pulling guard, but at the same time even strength to maintain blocks against big Dlineman.
Stanford's website has a Bio on him, just to quote some of it:
AT STANFORD: Veteran offensive lineman has made 26 starts over the last two seasons...listed as a second team preseason All-American by Phil Steele Magazine...anchors an offensive line that has allowed just 13 sacks over the last two campaigns and one that has helped pave the way for Stanford's running game to record two of the highest single-season rushing totals in school history...smart, dependable player who will certainly provide leadership to a retooled offensive front line.
2010 (SOPHOMORE): First team All-Pac-10 selection...was part of an outstanding offensive line that included first team All-America Chase Beeler, Jonathan Martin and Derek Hall...started all 13 games at the right guard position...blocking skills helped pave the way for a Stanford rushing attack to average 213.8 yards and amass the second-highest rushing total (2,779) in school history...line has also allowed the second-fewest sacks on average (0.46) in the nation...one of five players to earn the Frank Rehm Award for outstanding play in the Big Game against Cal.
2009 (REDSHIRT FRESHMAN): Earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 marks after starting all 13 games as a redshirt freshman at right guard...was one of two redshirt freshmen on the offensive line along with Jonathan Martin...excellent run blocker help pave the way for the Cardinal to average 218.2 yards a game on the ground and set the school's single-season rushing mark of 2,837 yards...part of an offensive line that allowed a Pac-10-low 7.0 sacks on the year.
Those are some pretty impressive stats. But enough of my talking, lets get onto the part you all read my posts for, the film breakdown.
Apologies for the quality of these pictures, but it was the best I could find on YouTube, you can watch it here.
This isn't his strongest point, but he is still well above average in pass protection (he is probably helped a fair amount by having Andrew Luck behind him making the throws).
On this pass play, DeCastro over-commits to the outside rush leaving a big gap inside which the DT takes advantage of.
It would appear like he's been completely beaten on the inside here, but he does't give up on the play.
He makes an excellent recovery, throwing himself at the DT.
The power behind that hit forces the DT to the ground, buying Luck time to extend the play.
On this play, we see much better technique from DeCastro.
He gets the one-on-one with the DT again, but this time doesn't commit one way or the other. He engages the DT very early, which helps him control the block from the start.
The DT has been disrupted in his rush because of how early DeCastro got his hands on him. The DT is forced to try another move, but DeCastro mirrors him all the way.
The DT attempts to go outside him, but DeCastro has perfect technique and cuts him off quickly.
The DT then cuts back inside, but DeCastro has control of the block now and again cuts him off before he can get anywhere.
The DT steps back to try another move. But this allows DeCastro the perfect opportunity to get a big punch on him. His pad level is lower than the DT's, allowing him to get under him and push him back. The DT never got within 5 yards of Luck on that play.
This block shows that DeCastro has all the ability needed to be a very good pass-blocking Guard, but he needs to be able to do it on a consistent basis. The other thing I'll say is that from watching film, you can see that he's constantly aware of the blitz and ready to pick up other assignments. Multiple times in that USC game he helped the Center maintain a block on a DT, while looking all around to see if there was anyone else in trouble of if there was another blitzing defender that they had missed that he could pick up.
This is where he will make his money in the NFL. Stanford's run game (much like the 49ers run game, which you can see here) is based around this guy. If they are running right, its behind him and he's getting to the second level on LBers. They they're running left, they are pulling DeCastro and using him as the leading blocker.
Here's a run play to the left, where DeCastro pulls and opens up the inside run for the RB.
DeCastro pushed the USC defender to the outside, opening up the space in behind him for the FB and the RB to run into.
DeCastro maintains his block well, constantly pushing him back. He shows excellent technique getting under the defenders pad level and using his legs to drive him backwards.
DeCastro goes to the ground, taking two defenders out of the play. the RB cuts back inside and rips off a big run for a first down.
This is a nice example of DeCastro's mobility, but not all teams pull their guards and the Redskins aren't one of them. So now lets look at a straight ahead run to the right side.
This isn't quite the zone stretch run the Redskins use, but it does contain similar aspects. We're going to see DeCastro down-block on the DT, forcing him inside onto the C before getting to the second level and blocking a LB.
On DeCastro's down-block, you can instantly see the running lane for the RB. He seals the edge to the inside and then gets to the second level.
He ingages the LB, maintaining the huge running lane for the RB. Again, I emphasis the technique here. He gets under the LB's pad level, and is able to drive him back.
He's able to keep the LB off the RB and at this point still has the advantage in the block.
The only reason he's not able to keep the block going is because another USC defender falls on his leg, trapping him. Even so, there are some mighty impressive blocking skill on display there from DeCastro, managing not only to create the running lane, but to maintain the block 7 yards down-field (which could have been even more had the defender not fallen on his leg).
This last run ended up being called back for a holding penalty on a TE, but it demonstrates DeCastro's ability to get down-field nicely.
It's a similar play to the last one, DeCastro down-blocks the DT, then gets to the second level.
Here's the impressive part, nearly 15 yards down-field DeCastro is still in the play trying to get a block and keep the play going. A Guard with this mobility and drive to keep going in the run game would be a huge addition for any team, and particularly the Redskins who are supposed to be a run heavy team.
David DeCastro has all the qualities needed to be a top class, pro-bowl guard at the NFL level. He's scheme diverse because of his athleticism. You can have him in a power system as a pulling guard, or he fits equally well in a zone scheme that requires guards to have the ability to move laterally and get to the second level.
This is all my opinion from what I saw on film. So like I did on the Robert Griffin III post, I once again reached out to Dan Kadar over at Mocking the Draft (which I highly suggest you follow on Twitter @MockingTheDraft) for his thoughts on DeCastro:
You definitely hit all the bullet points about DeCastro. The only thing you may have skipped over is DeCastro's playing style. He's a mean guy. There's something admirable about an interior offensive who is just downright nasty when he's doing his job. That doesn't mean DeCastro is dirty or will draw a lot of penalties, mind you. He's just an aggressive lineman who finishes off his blocks. In a draft where it looks like a lot of teams are going to be looking for guards, it's hard to see DeCastro falling all that far.