Decker sees option pickup as vote of confidence from Lions

The Detroit Lions made the decision a couple weeks back to pick up the fifth-year option on Taylor Decker’s rookie contract.

In doing so, they sent their fourth-year left tackle a vote of confidence, at least that’s how Decker sees it.

“Obviously very exciting,” he said Tuesday. “Cool thing for myself and my family to experience. I’m going to get another opportunity and another year to play here. It’s just a vote of confidence from the organization in myself and I hope to just keep working hard and try to become better and continue to be a good football player.”

Decker has started the last three seasons at left tackle for the Lions after being the No. 16 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was Bob Quinn’s very first draft pick as Lions GM. Decker has started 40 games in all over the last three seasons. He missed the first eight games of the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury, but played in all 16 as a rookie in 2016 and all 16 this past season.

Decker made the Pro Football Writer’s All-Rookie Team in 2016, and was the graded in the top 13 among left tackles by Pro Football Focus. He fell to 18th in his injury-shorted 2017 season and was graded 20th last season among left tackles who played at least eight games.

Now back to his routine, with the shoulder injury fully behind him, Decker is expecting to start trending in the right direction. He’s looking forward to the 2019 season and learning a new offense brought in by coordinator Darrell Bevell. Decker and his fellow offensive linemates are using this time to build some cohesiveness upfront. Decker believes they are ahead of the game in that regard because it’s a mostly veteran group.

Decker, left guard Frank Ragnow, center Graham Glasgow, right guard Kenny Wiggins and right tackle Rick Wagner all started half of the season together last year.

“I think it’s really going to be a fun year with our unit,” Decker said. “I think we have a great group on the offensive line. I think this is the best group I’ve ever been around as far as personalities fitting together and guys being on the same page.”

It’s a close-knit unit upfront along the offensive line, one that spends a ton of time off the field together as well.

View photos from phase two of the 2019 voluntary offseason workout program in Allen Park, Mich.

“There’s just a good chemistry in that room,” Decker said.

There’s no position in football that depends on chemistry and cohesiveness more than the offensive line. It’s five players working together. Add in the tight ends and it’s six and sometimes seven players working together, all who have to be on the same page.

Decker believes a big part of being able to perform on the field as an offensive line is having a personality fit both in the meeting room and off the field. He’s hoping the continuity developed among players upfront last year translates to the field this year.

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