2016 NFL Draft scouting report for Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker, one of the top offensive prospects in the entire draft class and one of the best seniors overall…
Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker is a massive man with first round prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft, and is one of the best senior players in the country.
At A Glance…
Name: Taylor Decker
Hometown: Vandalia, OH
Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year
1st Team All-Big Ten
Started three consecutive seasons, played in every game
Translatable NFL Traits
One of the first things you notice about Taylor Decker is, obviously, his length. At 6-7 or 6-8, that’s not a piece of evaluation that we’ll charge you for, but it’s something that he is going to always be able to use to his advantage in the NFL. With his long arms and ability to set a wide base, Decker is going to be able to keep pass rushers at bay much more easily than other offensive tackles are able to do.
His length limits the ways that rushers can come at him, which is obviously one of the premiere reasons some team is going to invest a first round draft choice in him. Protecting the QB is paramount, and Decker’s ability to dominate the edge with his great length make him an elite prospect at the position.
Offensive linemen are playing the most thankless roles on an NFL roster, but there’s something to be said about durability. Decker has started every game over the last three years for the Buckeyes, and he’s played against the best teams this country has to offer. On the way to a National Championship and a huge bowl victory over Notre Dame in 2015, Decker has been the anchor and the best lineman in the Big Ten.
His reliability for the Buckeyes and ability to consistently play at a high level against top competition won’t be lost on NFL scouts.
If you play for Urban Meyer, you had better be able to push piles in the running game. Not only is Decker a great run blocker, but he’s been part of one of the most dominant rushing attacks in NCAA football over the last three years.
The great thing about this is, because of the way Urban Meyer calls a football game, Decker is well-versed at run blocking in a number of ways. The different looks that defenses got from Ohio State would be mind-numbing and frustrating to no end, because you have plays where Decker would come out of his stance in a pass set, the defensive end tries to get around the edge, and Ezekiel Elliott scampers into the end zone for six.
Here’s an example…
Here he is sealing an edge against Michigan, getting out in space and using his massive frame to open up a huge run for Elliott on the perimeter…
And here he is just straight up imposing his physical will, exerting dominance over a defensive lineman.
No matter if you use a zone scheme or a power scheme, or a combination of both, Decker is a guy that looks like he can step in and start right away in terms of his run blocking ability.
Upper Body Strength
One thing you should really take note of as you watch Decker’s tape is that he seems to have a pretty good handle on things most plays. There’s not much you can do to fool him, especially trying to maul him over with a power rush. There are times when his height causes him to get too high in his stance and you can use that leverage against him, but like I previously mentioned, his length is often a problem for opposing defenders and that doesn’t happen often.
What it looks like when rushers go right at Decker is as if someone was throwing a 250 pound medicine ball into his chest and he’s just able to catch it and throw it right back. He handles defender with ease, keeps his hands inside, and uses his upper body strength to keep rushers at bay.
Possible Weaknesses to be Aware of
The major weakness here is obviously the fact that he needs to play with good bend and pad level consistently, or NFL edge rushers will have their way with him coming at him with speed or power. Like I mentioned before, his length has been a huge key for him in college but in the NFL, you have to play with good feet and consistent bend or you are going to get burned.
I think he does a pretty good job of this already, but NFL coaches will grill him early on about not playing with too much height and keeping that pad level right where it needs to be.
There’s no question this is a first round talent and sure-fire starter right away for an NFL team. His production with the Ohio State offense, his veteran presence, leadership, and overall skill set give me faith to believe that he’s going to translate really well to an NFL offensive line and quickly because of his upper body strength and the way he uses his length and power to his advantage.