OT TAYLOR DECKER, OHIO ST.

LT #68 Taylor Decker, Ohio St.

6’8” – 315 lbs. – 5.15e

Durable three-year starter. Very tall with solid bulk and even weight distribution. Had some problems with balance as a junior, but appears to have solidified his anchor as a senior. Rarely ends a snap on the ground. Doesn’t always take advantage of his length, allowing defenders to get into his pads rather than extending his arms effectively. Despite his height, gets decent leverage in pass protection and avoids lunging at opponents. Relatively assignment-sound in the passing game. Footwork is good, with the ability to replicate his kickslide on a snap-to-snap basis; usually gets enough depth to win the corner, rarely chasing opponents. Has enough lateral agility to mirror on the outside; sustains pretty well once engaged. Initial punch is strong and can knock opponents off-balance. Adequate but not overwhelming athleticism; would be better protected on the right side of the line. Was able to get the job done on the left side without much help, but lacks prototypical physical attributes for the blindside position. Not explosive on the move, but was asked to make it to the second level from time to time and is capable of engaging defenders. Somewhat compensates for his lack of ideal movement skills with a good work rate in pass protection and as a run blocker. Competitive but not particularly mean or aggressive; doesn’t seek to bury defenders and can be described as more of a wall-off blocker. Doesn’t blow most opponents off the line but can get his hands inside and turn them out of the hole. Keeps his feet churning after contact. Rarely whiffs on a block. Works well on double-teams. An experienced tackle prospect who played in a major conference and was coached by one of college football’s top minds, Decker may not be quite the prospect former Buckeyes blindside protector Jack Mewhort was, but like Mewhort, he represents a pro-ready offensive lineman who will probably never be elite but could potentially fit into a team’s starting lineup early and provide them with a versatile swing option. Best fit at the pro level may come as a right tackle who could slide to the left side in an emergency. Somewhat reminiscent of Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, a tall, reliable pass-protector who’s settled into a long-term starting role and has starting experience on both sides of the line; Vollmer went late in the second round, but Decker may go higher given his relative polish and the more highly-regarded program he’s coming out of.

Games watched: Alabama (’14), Rutgers (’14), Virginia Tech (’15)

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