The Detroit Lions spent the No. 16 overall pick in 2016 on left tackle Taylor Decker.
He was Lions general manager Bob Quinn’s inaugural first-round selection with the organization.
It's fair to say Decker has had his ups and downs throughout his career.
However, the quarterback’s blindside protector is typically only noticed for poor play -- rarely the good.
In saying that, Decker has been a polarizing player in Detroit.
Going into the last year of his rookie contract, there are mixed opinions among Lions fans as to what the team should do with the fifth-year player.
Is he worth giving an extension? That’s a question for another time, but it is important to note that Pro Football Focus recently ranked Decker as the 23rd-best offensive tackle -- left or right -- going into the 2020 season.
There is a reason that tackles are considered one of the most valuable positions.
They are not easy to find, and often require heavy investment -- either through the draft or via free agency.
Here’s PFF's analysis regarding Decker:
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“Decker has consistently been an above-average player throughout his four-year NFL career. He’s earned an above-average grade on true pass sets and has avoided negatively graded run blocks at an above-average rate, too — both of these are stable metrics for offensive tackles. Decker closed out the 2019 NFL season from Week 8 on as the league’s sixth-highest-graded tackle and will look to continue that in 2020.”
For left tackles only, Decker was ranked as the 10th-best player at the position with a 75.5 grade in 2019. His grade fell just behind Houston Texans LT Laremy Tunsil, who is the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league.
Obviously, this season is a critical one for both Decker and the Lions.
If Decker can continue to improve in year five, there is a possibility he could be considered even higher on the tackle list next year -- likely with a much larger price tag as well.