Taylor Decker: Solid Fit for the Indianapolis Colts?

Nov 21, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Taylor Decker (68) blocks against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Taylor Decker (68) blocks against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indianapolis Colts have had issues with their offensive line in recent years. Could Taylor Decker be the answer to their problems in the draft?

The Colts’ offensive line has been a revolving door over the past couple of season, and it continued in to be one in 2015. Nine different offensive linemen started for the Colts in 2015 because of injury or inconsistent play. The offensive line’s insufficient play finally took its toll on the team’s quarterbacks.

The Colts’ quarterbacks paid the price for the offensive line’s inconsistent play. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst all suffered season-ending injuries in 2015 because they all got hit too much. It is pretty clear the Colts need to fix this issue soon so they do not send their quarterbacks to the hospital in 2016.

Ohio State University’s Taylor Decker is one of the top offensive line prospects in this year’s NFL draft. One of the reasons why Decker is such a high valued prospect is he can play multiple positions. As a Buckeye, he played right tackle and left tackle very effectively. Meanwhile, his athleticism has scouts believing he could be an offensive guard too.

Decker’s Combine Results

  • Bench press – 20 reps
  • Broad jump – 101.0 inch
  • 40-yard dash – 5.23 seconds
  • 20-yard shuttle – 4.76 seconds
  • 3-cone drill – 7.70 seconds

Combine Results Provided By NFL.com’s Draft Tracker

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Scouts’ high praise for Decker was supported by his excellent performance at the NFL Draft Combine. Based on these results, it is pretty clear Taylor Decker is a very good athlete for an offensive lineman. However, scouts have found a couple of flaws with his game.

Decker is tall player, at 6’7”. While size is usually a good thing for an offensive lineman, it plays against Decker as an offensive tackle. His tall stature makes it easier for edge rushers to get leverage on him because they can get lower to the ground than he can. If opponents can avoid his hands by get lower than him, they will have an easy path to the quarterback.

Taylor Decker
Feb 26, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Taylor Decker participates in workout drills during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite his flaws, Decker’s positives make up for them. As a three-year starter for the Buckeyes, he started 42 consecutive games. CBS Sports also saw that he plays with a “nasty streak,” which is needed at the professional level. Decker sounds like he is a possible fit for the Colts.

The only issue for the Colts in drafting Decker is he does not address their main problem which is the interior part of their offensive line. The franchise is well set at offensive tackle. The Colts already have Anthony Castonzo at left tackle and are confident that Denzelle Good or Joe Reitz can be their long-term starting right tackle. So where would Decker fit in?

Well, the Colts would want Decker be a starting offensive guard. Decker has already had to switch between left and right tackle in his college career. It might not be the best idea for the Colts to start Decker’s professional career by making him switch from tackle to guard.

It is to much of a gamble to use a first round pick on a player that will ultimately make a position change. They can find those types of players later in the draft. In the first round, they need to draft a player that already plays the position the team wants.

Next: Leonard Floyd: Should the Colts Draft Him 18th Overall?

Ultimately, the Colts should keep Taylor Decker on their draft board, but he does not fix their immediate need for an interior lineman. Could he develop into a starting guard? He could develop, but then the Colts are playing game of chance with a first round draft pick. Unless the Colts want Decker to replace one of their current starting tackles, they should not select him with the 18th overall pick.