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Camp Spotlight: Tackle Taylor Decker

TAYLOR DECKER

Position: Left tackle

Ht/Wt: 6-7, 311

College: Ohio State

Experience: Third season

Outlook: Decker enters a pivotal third season after having two very different experiences his first two years in the league.

As a rookie first-round draft pick in 2016, Decker played every snap at left tackle and was very consistent. He was named to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team that year.

Last season, Decker injured his shoulder in OTAs, and missed the first half of the season after undergoing surgery. When he returned Week 10 vs. Cleveland, there was a little bit of rust he had to work through the next couple weeks.

He settled back into his role nicely, and played well to finish the season. He allowed 3.5 sacks in eight games last season after allowing just 4.5 sacks in 16 games as a rookie.

This was going to be a big offseason for Decker to return more to his rookie form entering his third season healthy.

Decker has looked good all throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp. He’s entrusted with protecting Matthew Stafford’s blindside, and being one of the players upfront that helps turn around the Lions' run game.

So far so good.

Practice report: Decker got some great work in Wednesday, and really the last two days, matching up against Giants outside linebacker Olivier Vernon, who has had at least 6.5 sacks in each of his last five seasons.

In one-on-one drills early in practice, Decker won his rep against Vernon. He was also good against outside linebacker Kareem Martin in one-on-ones.

Decker saw a lot of Vernon throughout the course of team drills, and was pretty consistent in staying in front of him and anchoring well all day. I only noticed one rep where Vernon was able to get outside leverage on Decker and force Stafford to step up in the pocket and attempt a shovel pass that went incomplete.

Decker even showed off his athleticism some when he was asked to pull out in space on a pitch left for Ameer Abdullah. Decker was able to get out to the edge and get a hand on cornerback Janoris Jenkins in the second level. He’s a better athlete than some might give him credit for because of his size.

Quotable: “He’s been great,” head coach Matt Patricia said of Decker’s training camp so far. “He’s been really a guy that has played I think consistently well since the spring with his techniques and now it’s really turned from a learning phase to now he’s really transferring that into a more aggressive type of a player, which has been great.

“I think he has great insight into the offense, real good knowledge of defensive scheme to be able to help the guys next to him which is has been a great leadership quality that he has displayed also. I’ve seen him so far in camp he played really strong and really aggressive with the techniques, which is good. You learn them sometimes an offensive lineman your tentative at first until you really feel comfortable with the different sets or the different punch angles and things like that, but he’s really progressed well with that.”

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