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Steelers reach terms with top pick DeCastro

| Monday, July 23, 2012, 2:22 p.m.
Steelers first-round pick David DeCastro during minicamp June 12, 2012, on the South Side. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers first round pick David DeCastro during mini camp on the south side June 12, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

David DeCastro drew comparisons to former All-Pro guard Alan Faneca while protecting No.1 draft pick Andrew Luck at Stanford. Now, he can only hope to emulate Faneca's 10-year career with the Steelers.

DeCastro, who unexpectedly fell to the Steelers at No. 24 in the draft, reached terms Monday on a four-year contract that includes a fifth-year option. The deal allows him to report to camp Wednesday at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

Based on the NFL rookie wage scale, DeCastro's deal is worth $7.814 million. Only the first three seasons are fully guaranteed, but the Steelers likely sweetened the fourth year with roster and workout bonuses, a common way to add non-guaranteed money to such deals.

DeCastro, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive guard, agreed to terms shortly after No. 23 pick Riley Reiff, a tackle, firmed up an estimated $8 million, four-year contract with the Detroit Lions. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower, chosen 25th by the New England Patriots, previously agreed to a $7.7 million contract that guarantees him a reported $6.3 million.

The Steelers are hoping DeCastro will be able to start immediately at right guard and shore up the protection for Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked 40 times last season.

They could start two rookie offensive linemen for the first time if Mike Adams, their second-round pick from Ohio State, beats out holdover Max Starks at left tackle.

Because of Stanford's academic schedule, DeCastro missed spring workouts and was available only for the three-day minicamp in June. By completing a deal, he won't miss any camp time.

The only unsigned Steelers player is wide receiver Mike Wallace, who is attempting to negotiate a multi-year contract.

He has not signed a $2.7 million tender offer.

The Steelers filled out their 90-man camp roster by signing rookie free agent Bridger Buche, an offensive tackle who started all 10 games he played last season at Eastern Michigan.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

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