The Detriot Lions have selected former Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker with the 16th pick of the 2016 NFL draft.
Decker surprised many when he decided to return to the Buckeyes for his senior season. The move appears to have paid off, as the Vandalia, Ohio, native was named the 2015 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and became the seventh offensive lineman drafted out of OSU in the last decade.
The three-year starter for the Scarlet and Gray played in a total of 54 games. Decker started at left tackle for all three of these seasons, while helping OSU have one of the most potent and effective running games in the Big Ten and NCAA.
In 2014, Decker was instrumental to the Buckeyes’ offense, helping the team amass 3,967 yards rushing. In all, he played 1,034 snaps during the championship season.
During his senior year, the Buckeyes averaged 245.2 rushing yards each game, which was tops in the Big Ten. Decker led the team as an efficient blocker, as well as a mentor. He was named a team co-captain by his teammates at the start of the season.
A first team All-American this past year, Decker rose some eyebrows by producing less-than-stellar numbers at the NFL combine. However, this did not deter the Lions from selecting the offensive tackle.
As noted by ESPN’s Jon Gruden immediately following the selection, Decker will most likely be making the transition to the right side of the line as opposed to the left side, where he started for the Buckeyes last year.
Detroit struggled with protecting Matthew Stafford last year, as he was sacked 44 times last season, just one less than the previous season. With the selection of Decker, the Lions are hoping to lower this number.