Lions pick OSU offensive lineman Taylor Decker

Posted at 10:01 PM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 00:01:13-04

The Detroit Lions selected offensive tackle Taylor Decker with the No. 16 overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night, landing a player to help Matthew Stafford stay upright for a change.

When asked where he expected to go in this year's draft, Decker said "I think where I went was right in the range I was expecting."

Detroit drafted the four-year starter from Ohio State to address a need identified by new general manager Bob Quinn.

"Watching his film during the season, seeing him at the combine, watching his pro day.. All those things leading up to it, every part of the process, we came away impressed," said Quinn.

The 6-foot-8, 315-pound Decker is projected as a right tackle in part because he needs to improve his footwork in pass protection, and that is likely the position he will play as a rookie in the Motor City. 

Decker said he brings a certain toughness to a team, coming from a program as competitive as OSU. He also noted a good football IQ as one of his strengths.

He will probably start opposite left tackle Riley Reiff, a 2012 first-round pick entering the last year of his contract.

The Lions need to bolster their offensive line to protect their investment in Stafford, the No. 1 pick overall in 2009, and to help them establish a better running game. Stafford has been sacked 89 times the past two years, a total that trails just three quarterbacks since 2014.

Detroit has tried to build a formidable line through the draft in recent years.

The Lions took guard Laken Tomlinson with the No. 28 pick overall last year and he started 14 games. Larry Warford, a third-round pick in 2013, is a three-year starter. Travis Swanson, a third-round pick two years ago, started 14 games at center.

The Lions went into the three-day draft with 10 picks, including two in the fifth round and three in the sixth.

Detroit lost nine games last year, its 13th losing season in 15 years. During last season, team owner Martha Firestone Ford fired president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew, longtime executives with the team. She hired president Rod Wood to run business operations and Quin to make football-related decisions.

Quinn said he planned to strike a balance between selecting the best player on the team's draft board and focusing on needs.

He signed former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Marvin Jones to a five-year deal just days after superstar Calvin Johnson retired and re-signed defensive back Haloti Ngata.