When Stanford guard David DeCastro slipped all the way to the 24th spot in the National Football League draft, the Steelers were so excited he was available they took less than a minute to select him.
Today, they wasted little time getting their No. 1 selection to town and introducing him in public.
Shortly after he was selected at about 10:20 p.m. Thursday night, DeCastro caught a red-eye flight from Seattle and arrived at the Steelers' South Side facility this morning. He was introduced at a 3 p.m. news conference.
"I think David may have set a record for the shortest time between being drafted and being on a plane to Pittsburgh," Steelers president Art Rooney II said.
The Steelers hope he can transition that quickly to their right guard position on the offensive line.
DeCastro (6-5, 316 pounds) was considered the best guard in the NFL draft and projected as a top-15 pick. When he kept slipping, the Steelers considered trading up to draft him.
They didn't have to and were ecstatic to get him with the 24th overall selection.
"You get picked by the Steelers, it definitely overcomes any disappointment," DeCastro said, flanked in the news conference by Rooney, Coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert. "I didn't go in with any expectation. I knew in the draft there are a ton of variables. I know lot of stuff can happen, with trades and what not. When the Steelers picked me, I was more than overjoyed."
Rooney presented DeCastro with a Steelers No. 1 jersey, symbolic of his selection as their top pick. DeCastro wore No. 52 at Stanford, a number he is unlikely to get with the Steelers.
That was the number worn by Hall of Fame center Mike Webster and, even though his jersey hasn't been retired, no player has worn that number since.
"It's definitely a life-changing moment," said DeCastro, who grew up in Bellevue, Wash, about 20 minutes from Seattle. "As far as the Steelers, I'm really excited. The organization and team speaks for itself. It's arguably one of the best, if not the best, fan base in the world. I'm just excited. It's a great football town. I couldn't be happier, really."
DeCastro's roommate at Stanford was quarterback Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
He said he talked with Luck after he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, then received a text from his former teammate after he was drafted by the Steelers.
"I'm still trying to catch my breath," DeCastro said. "I had a bunch of text messages, a bunch of phone calls. It's an exciting time. I just want to enjoy the moment, but, at the same time, I'm excited to finally have a team and get started and play some football."
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @gerrydulac. First Published April 28, 2012 2:15 AM