2012 NFL DRAFT: GUARDS

A position-by-position look at prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. This entry: Guards.

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INDIANAPOLIS –The starting bell rang 39 times for Stanford football over the past three seasons.

Every time the bell sounded, David DeCastro answered at right guard for the Cardinal.

The two-time first-team all-conference selection also was a unanimous All-America choice in 2011, and he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.

DeCastro was one many noteworthy performers that helped direct Stanford to an 11-2 record in 2011 and a second straight BCS Bowl appearance.  DeCastro blocked three seasons for Andrew Luck, who completed 713-of-1,064 passes for 9,430 yards, with 82 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. 

It has been a heady time in Palo Alto since 2009.  Stanford has gone 31-8 during that span, including a 24-5 conference record and an 8-3 mark against Top 25 teams.  In earning three bowl appearances, Stanford set three consecutive seasonal scoring records (461, 2009; 524, 2010; 561, 2011) and scored 40-plus points 17 times.  Stanford spent 29 consecutive weeks in the AP poll, including 22 straight ranked in the Top 10.  Prior to 2009, the Cardinal had seven consecutive losing seasons, then posted 8-5, 12-1 and 11-2 records.

DeCastro helped anchor a talented line in a pro-style offense.  One of his strengths is being a pulling guard in the run game.  Like all linemen, he acknowledges skills, but not with the same emphasis he puts on refining those skills. 

"There's a lot to work on, just technique in general," said DeCastro.  "Football is something where you're always chasing perfection.  There's a lot I can get better at – using my hands, being more balanced, I mean, the list goes on. … (I have) good balanced, good leverage. … I'm aggressive, I'm a hard worker, but I really don't like talking about myself. ... I like playing football.  I enjoy it."

The Stanford line allowed less than one sack per game last year in an offense that hit for 37 touchdown passes and a completion percent of 71.3.  In 2010, Stanford surrendered 0.46 sacks per game, and DeCastro played alongside three first-team All-Americans – Chase Beeler, Jonathan Martin and Derek Hall.

DeCastro had no trouble counting the sacks he allowed in 2011, "Zero." 

The Bellevue, Washington native with a 20-inch neck recalls his career total and the circumstance, "One that I can think of.  (It was) Brian Price of UCLA, in my freshman year.  I set outside, and he came back and countered inside.  He sacked Andrew (Luck).  Memories (laughs)."

DeCastro played under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh during his time there, and he appreciates the style employed by the energetic coach who was the starting quarterback for the Colts from 1994-97.

"He's an enthusiastic guy who demanded a lot out of us," said DeCastro.  "He works very hard – dedication every day, on and off the field.  It was huge.  The pro-style system was great, run blocking, pass blocking.  You come to here (the NFL) and the terminology is the same for a lot of teams in the West Coast offense."

As he closely watched Harbaugh's San Francisco club advance to the NFC Championship game last season, the 49ers' attack looked familiar.

"Very close.  It was cool, the same offense we ran," said DeCastro.  "I noticed that on a lot of plays, I knew exactly what they were running most of the time.  And the same play calls.  It was fun to watch."

DeCastro will go on to NFL riches.  He will carry great memories of Stanford.  Some of those will involve his roommate, Luck.  DeCastro claims they were Felix-Felix, not Felix-Oscar or Oscar-Oscar.

"Me and him are the clean ones," said DeCastro.  "There's some article on Yahoo that said our room was dirty, and it's not because of me and Andrew.  It was the other guys."

LOOKING AT THE 2012 NFL DRAFT'S GUARDS

THE LAST FIVE

The last five guards drafted by the Colts:

2011:  Ben Ijalana, second round, Villanova

2010:  Jacques McClendon, fourth round, Tennessee

2009:  Jaimie Thomas, seventh round, Maryland

2008:  Mike Pollak, second round, Arizona State

2008:  Jamey Richard, seventh round, Buffalo

THIS YEAR'S DRAFT

An alphabetical list of guards expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (*-denotes underclassman):

James Brown, Troy

David DeCastro, Stanford*

Ryan Miller, Colorado

Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh

Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State

Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina

Desmond Wynn, Rutgers

Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin

Note:  The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.

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