Has good pop and a physical player at the point of attack. At times will fire off the ball, showing good hand placement inside to lock on and get some push. Takes good angles when asked to block on the move, and able to get position to create seals and wall off defenders. Able to use his hands to redirect defenders at the point of attack. Flashes ability as a drive blocker when he can lock on. Does an excellent job pulling and works well on the off-tackle. They tend to run behind him when he pulls into the hole. Does a nice job squaring up the linebacker in the hole or on the edge, able to adjust in space to hit moving targets. Delivers pop at the point of attack when he pulls, and shows ability to lock on and drive defender off the ball. Can be an effective cut blocker when he gets out in space, as well as sealing the backside pursuit when he's working on the stretch play. Looks fairly fluid when asked to move on the second level. Flashes decent footwork in pass protection, setting up well and can adjust in space against the blitzer. Does a good job initiating contact with a solid punch and plays with good knee bend and base not give much ground to the power rusher. Has a good mean streak and consistently finishes his blocks.
Not an overly powerful player and doesn't get a ton of push at the point of attack. Especially when he can't get good initial hand placement off the snap. Will try and get overextended at times, losing his balance and get beat by the swim move. Misses some assignments when blocking out in space or when pulling because he doesn't always do a great job squaring up the defender. Instead will look to lower shoulder and deliver hit rather than use his hands to lock on. Doesn't have great feet in pass protection and can struggle at times against quicker rushers. Has a tendency to want to go forward in pass protection rather than show good lateral quickness. Will get overextended and lunge at times when trying to deliver punch. And even when he does initiate contact, he can get jolted off the snap by the defender.
DeCastro is a physical player, but more of a technician than a true power player. He is an excellent pulling guard that has been arguably the best guard in the country the past two years. A lot of Stanford's success on the ground has come running directly behind him as he pulls across the line and into the hole. He is capable working on an island in pass protection, but may not be the most fluid athlete there. He's a consistent player that rarely dominates as a smashmouth player, but rarely makes mistakes either. He'll fit in well as a starter in a scheme that will utilize his superior abilities as a pulling guard.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/17) at Arizona: 2 key blocks; Downfield: 0/1; Pull: 8/10; Cut: 1/1
(10/8) vs. Colorado: 2 key blocks; Downfield: 1/2; Pull: 7/9; Cut: 1/1
(11/12) vs. Oregon: Downfield: 3/3; Pull: 6/10; Cut: 1/1
(11/26) vs. Notre Dame: 1 key block; Downfield: 3/3; Pull: 1/2
(1/2) vs. Oklahoma St: 1 key block; Pull: 7/7
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, right guard
2010: 13/13, right guard
2009: 13/13, right guard
DeCastro reminds me a lot of Logan Mankins due to their shared abilities as two of the best pulling guards in the league. Mankins is also not an elite athlete, but uses his hands so well that he is able to overcome the fact that his feet aren't great. I think DeCastro does a lot of the same at Stanford, although of course there is always room for improvement. He should be able to come in right away and be a solid starter on either side of the line. He works well on the right side because on most teams there he'll be left on an island, which he can perform in. He has the potential to be one of the top guards in the league that won't ever be a physically dominant player, but a technician that does a lot of the little things that allow him to beat bigger, stornger, or faster players. It may take some time for him to reach that full potential, but in the meantime he'll at least be a solid to good starter. He has the capability of being a perennial Pro Bowl guard. He can work both in a man or zone blocking scheme, although Stanford's scheme is much more of a man-heavy scheme which will be easiest for him to transition in because of how effective a pulling guard he is. He could also play center in a pinch, although his talents might be somewhat wasted playing there since he can have more impact as a guard. DeCastro should be a player that has a long, productive career in the pros that at worst will be a good starter and at best could be mentioned in the same breath as the elite guards in the league.
Logan Mankins, Patriots.
DeCastro would have been a perfect fit at right guard in the Falcons old blocking scheme, which was man heavy. It would have allowed them to bring back the power off-tackle, their bread and butter player for much of 2008 and 2009. With the Flacons likely to use more zone-blocking under Dirk Koetter, DeCastro would still fit in well. He's certainly capable of competing for and winning a starting job right away. And the Falcons would be hard-pressed to not try and get him into the lineup as soon as possible just so that they can develop him more quickly.
DeCastro is the rare caliber of guard that merits a Top 15 selection because of how relatively polished and how much he can be an impact blocker on the interior because of his consistency. Ideally, he'll be taken in the middle portion of the round somewhere in the teens.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 7.5
Run Blocking: 8.0
Mean Streak: 9.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.