Ranking every Steelers first-round draft pick of the Mike Tomlin era

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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4. David DeCastro, 2012 first-round pick

It was unfortunate to see David DeCastro’s career end the way that it did. Despite being consistently among the best guards in the league, injuries derailed his final few seasons and forced an early retirement. Despite all of that DeCastro still ranks with the top picks that Tomlin has ever taken in the draft.

DeCastro was a highly touted prospect coming out of Stanford, and he was expected to go early in the 2012 draft. He famously fell on draft night right into the Steelers hands. Despite not targeting prospects that far west, the team was quick to scoop him up and end his draft-day slide.

He missed most of his rookie season with an injury, but after that, DeCastro was a different animal for this line. He was a people mover that mauled defenders, opened holes, and was a menace in space. He was a key reason for the development of this line into a top unit. I would also argue that at his best, he was hands down the best offensive lineman this team possessed.

His play took a dive in his final season, and a lot of that seems to be attributed to the injuries he played through. He lacked the explosion off the line and his strength seemed more limited. It was revealed that he had bone spurs, the Steelers cut him, and that has seemingly ended his career.

Had he been able to play for a few more seasons, I genuinely think DeCastro would have been the second name on this list. Because of the shortened career and injuries at the end though, DeCastro finds himself as a respectable fourth option on this list.