PHOENIX–* *As rookie seasons go, left tackle Taylor Decker had a pretty good one. He played every snap on offense a year ago, and was voted to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team.
It wasn't always perfect with Decker, nothing ever is with rookies, but his first season was better than most rookie left tackles have in this league. That bodes very well for his future.
Decker got probably the biggest compliment earlier this month, when well-respected veteran and new Lions right guard T.J. Lang, said Decker is on a Pro Bowl path after watching him on film.
"He's a stud," Lang said of Decker.
Just a week after the season concluded, Decker was back to work training and working out in Arizona, and he could make an even bigger leap in year two, as most players do.
"For a rookie to come in and play as well as he played is difficult to do," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "He has talent. He has ability. He has the right kind of frame of mind. I think, obviously, the arrow is pointing up for this guy. He's just going to keep getting better and better and better and we're certainly happy to have him."
A full offseason to prepare, without having to go through the pre-draft rigors, is going to be good for Decker. He's training this offseason to keep defensive ends off Matthew Stafford, not training to run the 40 and impress teams in drills.
He can focus on his craft, instead of criss-crossing the country visiting teams ahead of the draft. It's for that reason we typically see the biggest leap in a player's development from his rookie season to year two. Given how well Detroit's draft class performed last season, led by Decker, that bodes well for the Lions overall.
Decker seems to have the right kind of work ethic and physical attributes to be an anchor left tackle for a long time in Detroit.