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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Steelers really, really wanted DeCastro

By Jamison Hensley

It's not a newsflash that the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted David DeCastro. Pittsburgh selected the Stanford guard with the 24th overall pick, taking him over Alabama inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

But how much the Steelers coveted DeCastro will probably surprise you. According to NFL Network, the Steelers had a draft-day trade in place with the New York Jets to move up to No. 16, one spot ahead of the Bengals, and take DeCastro.

The Jets were reportedly willing to fall back to the Steelers' spot at No. 24 to get pass-rushing defensive linemen Bruce Irvin or Quinton Coples. Once the Seahawks surprisingly chose Irvin at No. 15, the Jets backed out of the trade with the Steelers and drafted Coples, NFL Network reported.

On April 26, the night of the first round, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked if the team had attempted to trade up for DeCastro after selecting him. "I’ll leave that to the imagination," Colbert said last month. "I’ll just say again, we identified several guys that we thought we would entertain trading up to get, and this kid was one of them."

You could tell the Steelers were excited to get DeCastro that night because they used the word "excited" three times in Colbert and Mike Tomlin's opening statement about DeCastro. In the end, the Steelers still got the top-rated guard in the draft by staying put and not losing draft picks.

It's not known what the Steelers were willing to give up, but they might have had to trade their picks in the third and fourth rounds to move up for DeCastro, according to the draft trade chart. Pittsburgh selected linebacker Sean Spence in the third round and moved up in the fourth for nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu. The Steelers' entire draft would have looked completely different and wouldn't have been as strong.

The reason behind the trade was getting in front of the Bengals, who had been heavily linked to DeCastro leading up to the draft. But Cincinnati was more interested in Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler than DeCastro. The Bengals passed on DeCastro at No. 17 (when they chose Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick) and No. 21 (when they traded back to No. 27). According to the Bengals' official website, the team got an extra third-round pick to fall back six spots to get Zeitler, who would've been their choice if they remained at No. 21.