Last year the Pittsburgh Steelers used the most combinations of lineman in the NFL, with a total of 25 different combinations that meant using nine different starters. In this year’s draft they hoped to stabilize their offensive line by using their first-round pick (24th overall) to select guard David DeCastro out of Stanford University.
Now it looks like they won’t be getting the stability they were looking for, at least not from DeCastro.
On Saturday during Pittsburgh’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, DeCastro was freight trained by Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, which caused his knee to fold awkwardly as he fell down.
As a result, DeCastro dislocated his kneecap and tore his MCL (luckily he didn’t damage his ACL), effectively ending his rookie season before it had even started.
This could be a problem for Ben Roethlisberger owners, as DeCastro was specifically drafted to beef up the protection for Pittsburgh’s franchise pivot.
The Steelers’ weak offensive line has allowed Roethlisberger to get hammered over the past few years (they gave up 42 sacks last year, ninth most in the NFL), causing Big Ben to play through both knee and ankle injuries. DeCastro was the centerpiece of a new, younger offensive line that was created to keep Roethlisberger healthy, and to give him more time to throw.
Still, this shouldn’t hurt Roethlisberger’s fantasy value too much, although he could drop a few spots if owners get worried about his nagging leg injuries and lack of protection.