Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro has been a stalwart along the offensive line for nine seasons, but he apparently almost never made it to Pittsburgh in the first place.
In a behind-the-scenes story on Twitter on Tuesday, NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala shared that the team was on the verge of instead drafting former Alabama and current New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower with the No. 24th-overall pick.
That is when Steelers team president Art Rooney II stepped in and vetoed the selection, instead having the club draft DeCastro, recognizing the need for a dominant offensive lineman.
One of the first behind-the-scenes stories I was told when I moved to PIT in 2012: #Steelers were all set to draft stud LB Dont'a Hightower. Then, moments before the pick, Art Rooney steps in and says, No, we need an OL. Take David DeCastro.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) February 15, 2021
This is instructive, Steelers fans.
The Steelers opted to take DeCastro, but Hightower did not have to wait long. He was taken with the very next pick at No. 25 by the Patriots. Both clubs seemed to have made the right call.
DeCastro has been selected to six straight Pro Bowls and named First-Team All-Pro twice over his career.
Hightower’s career has been pretty successful as well. While he has only earned two Pro Bowl nods, Hightower is a three-time Super Bowl champion with New England. Hightower opted out of the 2020 season due to family health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now nine years later, the Steelers are once again in possession of the No. 24 selection with needs along the offensive line. History could repeat itself in the 2021 NFL Draft.