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Taylor Decker Uses Size, Basketball Background To His Advantage


One of the best tackles in the 2016 draft class, Ohio State's Taylor Decker carries a 6-foot-7 frame that comes with immediate advantages against top competition.

When you go against the best, you naturally become a better player. That's what happened with Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker in recent years.

On Saturdays, Decker would go toe-to-toe with the Big Ten Conference's best pass rushers. The rest of the week it was against his own teammates like Joey Bosa -- a player projected to be perhaps the first defensive player taken in next week's NFL Draft – and Noah Spence.

"Getting to play against a guy like [Bosa] or a guy like Noah Spence for two years and even Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, Johnathan Hankins or John Simon [was huge]," Decker said at the NFL Combine in February. "I got to play against some really guys, more than I got in reps in the game. Joey is an incredible player. He's really complete. He plays the run really well. He's strong. He's quick off the ball. He's good with his hands. He's such a complete player. If you do something wrong, he's going to expose you. He made me a lot better player."

But Decker was never overmatched in any situation.

In three years as a starter for the Buckeyes, the Vandalia, Ohio, native started 42 games.

He was a Lombardi Award – given to the nation's top offensive lineman – finalist and an Outland Trophy candidate as a senior while also earning Associated Press first-team honors.

Decker was also named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.

It certainly doesn't hurt that he pairs his talent with a 6-foot-7, 310-pound frame.

Check out images of offensive tackle Taylor Decker during his collegaite career at Ohio State.

"Generally you're going to have longer limbs, so you can have more leverage to keep guys from your chest and your body," Decker said of how his size can benefit him. "It can be a good thing or badly but I don't think it's something that's served me badly in my career."

Decker also has a technique advantage thanks to a high school basketball background.

"Probably the main thing basketball would help you with is footwork," Decker said. "Not that defending in basketball is like pass-blocking, but you kind of are mirroring the guy and to be able to react to what any other guy is doing with foot movement. Then when you're posting up, you have to get leverage."

While Decker played left tackle during his time at Ohio State, projections have him starting out at right tackle for the team that selects him.

Decker has no qualms about making such a move.

"At the end of the day, I just want to play football," Decker said. "So if a team asked me to play another position, absolutely I would. I want to be an asset to whatever team I go to."




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