Editor’s Note: As we get ready for the 2012 NFL Draft, we’ll be “meeting” some players who just might find their way to Buffalo come April. In this series we’ll take a look at possible Bills draft picks and break down their abilities and potential.
Overview: This mauler is just about the best guard prospect you’re ever going to come across. But is any guard worth a top 10 pick?
Strengths: Really, really good in just about every phase of the game. Totally dominant as a run blocker. If a better pulling guard has come along recently, I haven’t seem him. Exceptional at getting to the second level and finding someone to hit. A little less dominant in the passing game but still pretty solid. Not quite an elite athlete but a very good one. Extremely fundamentally sound with great footwork. Super aggressive with a real mean streak. Uncanny awareness when it comes to picking up blitzes – he’s never fooled. Intelligent and a leader in the locker room. Already plenty big and strong at 6’5, 310 pounds but has the frame to add even more strength.
Weaknesses: Thanks to Stanford playing in the defensively challenged Pac-12, he didn’t face the kind of elite competition that will await him in the NFL. There is some question as to how he’ll handle much bigger and better players in the pros. Doesn’t have a great initial punch – tends to win his battles by keeping his feet moving. Needs to get a bit better with his hands. Occasionally too aggressive – he’ll outrun a screen play and miss the guys he needs to block or hit guys too hard on passing plays and get out of position.
How He’d Fit in Buffalo: The Bills have spent the last few years trying to build a young, aggressive, and nasty offensive line with the ability to open holes in the running game. DeCastro would not only fit right in but elevate the whole group.
The Bottom Line: DeCastro’s as close to a sure thing as you’ll see in the draft. Barring injury or some other craziness, DeCastro’s going to be excellent. The only question is “How early is too early to take a guard?” Even the world’s greatest guard doesn’t make your team a Super Bowl contender. You usually don’t see a guard taken in the first round. Can the Bills justify taking a guard – albeit the best guard prospect to come along in a while – at #10? I guess we’ll see. I’d be for it. This guy’s special.