Position: Offensive Tackle
Weight: 310 pounds
School: Ohio State Buckeyes
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 5.23 seconds
Bench press (225 pounds): 20 reps
Broad jump: 8 feet, 5 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.70 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.76 seconds
Taylor Decker 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Ohio State’s improvement on the offensive line during the 2014 season paved the way for their eventual national title that year. And Taylor Decker played a huge part. His unit came under fire after an early loss to Virginia Tech where they allowed seven sacks. But Decker and company embraced the grind and continued to get better as the season wore on. It showed in the overall offensive production. OSU would finish the season ranked third in the nation with 7,674 yards of total offense. Only Marshall and Oregon had higher totals.
And it was the latter that the Buckeyes would dispatch fairly convincingly to win it all. That game, combined with the previous two, showcased all the hard work Decker and his compatriots on the O-line put in all season. One need look no further than the OSU running game. Against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon, running back Ezekiel Elliott averaged 232 yards on the ground. He also had a total of eight touchdowns. Those ridiculous numbers were made possible in large part due to solid run blocking up front.
Despite him being projected as a first round pick, Decker decided to return for his final year in Columbus. Though unable to realize his goal of winning back-to-back titles, he was part of an historic senior class which won 50 games. That total is more than any other group of seniors in the history of Buckeye football. Decker would garner first-team All-American honors by numerous publications. He was also named the 2015 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. In addition, the Vandalia, OH native is a three-time “Iron Buckeye” award winner. According to the team website, that honor is given to players who commit to “unquestioned physical training dedication, determination, discipline, toughness and leadership.”
- has overall frame and build well-suited to the position.
- does a good job at setting hands and feet to gain leverage in run blocking situations.
- diagnoses blitzes and blocks the edge well.
- good lateral movement that enables him to square his body to defenders in pass protection.
- rarely confused by stunt moves from the defensive line.
- has quick, fluid feet when blocking in the open field.
- never shies away from venturing into the second level to put a hit on someone.
- high intensity player that goes all the way to the final whistle.
- solid work ethic and proven leader.
- has a tendency to play too upright at times.
- will need to work on incorporating his base more into overall blocking technique.
- tends to have trouble shifting weight and recovering if he loses initial battle at point of attack.
- could struggle against athletic defenders with good counter moves to the inside.
- can be slow to engage rusher which negatively affects his ability to mirror him in pass blocking.
- measurables at Combine and Pro Day didn’t stand out.
- below average arm length for his height.
NFL Comparison: Anthony Castonzo
Teams with Need at Position: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projection: middle to late first round
Taylor Decker is one of many former Buckeyes slated to become rookies on NFL rosters this season. His track record as a legitimate grinder has earned him praise from both his college coaches and pro-level evaluators. There’s not much doubt that he’ll put in the work required in the NFL. And he has the potential to be an immediate contributor. But there are concerns about his ability to deal with the elite level speed he’ll see from edge rushers at the next level. Nevertheless, his potential upside should see him off the board on day one.