As the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Ohio State, Taylor Decker is the longest-tenured Detroit Lion. And with turning 30 on Wednesday he is naturally one of the oldest players on the roster.
Decker has been around so long he was on the last Lions' playoff team, as a rookie (like old and now new-again teammate Graham Glasgow was). He has plied his trade, protecting the blindside of Matthew Stafford and now Jared Goff, largely in obscurity on a national scale. But such is, or has been, life with the Lions amid a run of losing with the dysfunction of the Matt Patricia era mixed in during Decker's career.
Decker has consistently posted nice grades from Pro Football Focus as both a pass and run blocker. He also rarely draws penalties (40 over seven seasons, and more than 6,300 snaps per Pro Football Reference), while playing with the bit of an edge an offensive lineman has to bring sometimes.
Detroit Lions: Is Taylor Decker the most underrated left tackle in the NFL?
Decker is fairly well-compensated, as a top 12-15 left tackle based on annual average as he enters the final two years (2025 as a void year) of his contract. It's hard to argue with a lot of those who are above him there, but there are a few who have newer deals than his and shouldn't be above him in average per year (D.J. Humphries, Cam Robinson, Garett Boles).
Decker's cap number for 2023 ($19.35 million, according to Spotrac) is more reflective of his status (sixth-highest among left tackles).
The barrier to entry to make the Pro Bowl has eroded over the years, as players bow out (for genuine or at times flimsy reasons), alternates get the nod and it's now no longer an attempt to play a football game. But Decker has zero Pro Bowl selections on his resume so far, as he's not even been high enough of an alternate to make it.
Others may have a case to be called the most underrated player at one of the premium positions on the field. But no one can usurp Decker's case to be called the most underrated left tackle in the NFL.