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Thursday July 31 2014
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Up Close with David DeCastro

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It may have been late April, but it seemed like Christmas morning in the Steelers war room on the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft. Stanford guard David DeCastro, the best interior lineman in the draft and a player that most expected to go in the top-fifteen, slid all the way down to the 24th overall pick and right into the lap of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The rugged and athletic offensive lineman is expected to compete for the starting spot at right guard immediately. PSR's Ken Torgent and Steve Flinn were there when DeCastro met with Pittsburgh media for the first time last month.


Q: What were your thoughts on being drafted?
A:
It’s a life changing moment. As far as the Steelers, I was really excited to be chosen. The organization speaks for itself, and they have arguably one of the best, if not the best fan bases in the world. I am just excited. It’s a great football city. I couldn’t be happier really.


Q: What was it like getting the call from the Steelers?
A:
It was surreal. I was just really excited. There were a lot of hugs. I was kind of stunned. I was just excited to be on a team.


Q: What was your reaction to not being selected earlier? Did ending up with the Steelers impact how you felt about that?
A:
Getting drafted by the Steelers definitely helped overcome the disappointment. I really didn’t go into it with any expectations. I knew the draft had a ton of variables, a lot of stuff that can happen, with trades. When the Steelers picked me, I was more than overjoyed.


Q: How familiar are you with the history and tradition of the Steelers?
A:
I grew up a Seahawks fan in Washington. Funny story, I wasn’t the biggest Steelers fan growing up. You beat us in Super Bowl XL. Now I am the biggest Steelers fan there is.


Q: Have you changed from being a Seahawks fan to a Steelers fan?
A:
I definitely have, not a Seahawks fan anymore.


Q: Were you one of the fans whining about the officiating in Super Bowl XL?
A:
I have no comment.


Q: What have the last 24 hours been like?
A:
I am still trying to catch my breath. I’ve gotten a bunch of texts and phone calls from people saying congrats. It’s an exciting time. I am just really going to enjoy it and enjoy the moment. At the same time I am just excited to finally have a team, get started and play some football.


Q: What are your expectations for this season?
A:
I have no clue. I just want to play football. I have a long way to go. Obviously, I haven’t done anything. The journey is just beginning.


Q: How ready are you to step in and play in the NFL?
A:
I don’t know how to answer that. I think playing in the pro-style offense definitely helps. I think there are a lot of differences, starting with athletic ability and how much technique is used in the professional game.


Q: Did your dad play rugby, and when did you start playing football?
A:
Yeah, my parents had no clue about football. Now they know a little bit more. My mom has educated herself quite a bit. I started playing football in high school.


Q: How does it feel to be an instant celebrity to Steelers’ fans?
A:
I can’t really speak on that. I’ve never really been good with attention. I am just a typical lineman. I am going to have to get used to that.


Q: Did you meet with the Steelers at the combine, and did you have any expectations of where you might be drafted?
A:
I met with them at the combine. As I said before, it’s hard to tell with the draft. A lot of teams like to play games, a smoke-and-mirrors approach. I did not have any expectations.


Q: How did you wind up playing your position?
A:
I played both offense and defense in high school. When I got to college I was an offensive lineman, definitely. I played all three positions my freshman year. I moved to right guard my second year and played there since.


Q: What did you like about that position?
A:
 It was fun at Stanford. I pulled a lot, and I was blocking out in space. I just enjoyed it.


Q: How much do you think the offense ran behind your blocks?
A:
I know it was quite a bit but I don’t have the exact number off the top of my head.


Q: Can you talk a little bit about Stanford’s offensive line?
A:
As a program, as linemen, we were just a group of guys that enjoyed working. We weren’t worried about the fanfare or attention. We all liked moving the football and getting rushing yards. That’s what we were about.


Q: You have been described as athletic and aggressive - is that something you take pride in?
A:
Definitely I take pride in that. It’s one of those things you try to work on every day to get better. As a ball player that helps a lot.

I was in a minor league press box in Charlotte, NC, last month, taking in one of Gregory Polanco’s final triple-A games. A colleague, upon learning I was from Pittsburgh, approached me with a question.
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