The 16th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Taylor Decker is the longest-tenured Detroit Lion on this year's roster. He has been around so long he was on the team when the Lions last made the playoffs, as a rookie starter at left tackle protecting Matthew Stafford's blind side.
Decker has of course also seen a whole lot of losing, mixed with heavy dysfunction when Matt Patricia was the Lions' head coach (which still feels like it was longer than not even three full seasons). Which makes this season, with the Lions looking like a good, playoff-caliber team, particularly sweet for him. He missed a couple games with a right ankle injury he's still battling through, but his toughness cannot be questioned one bit.
Decker took his usual post at left tackle on Sunday. And with that start, he reached a milestone.
Lions left tackle Taylor Decker reaches milestone with start on Sunday
Decker became the fourth offensive tackle in Lions' history to make 100 starts for the team when he took the field for the first offensive snap of Sunday's game.
In acknowledgement of his 100th start, the Lions had Decker author the latest rendition of their "Beyond" series. It's well worth a read, as Decker chronicles his journey and gets candid about his ups and downs as a Lion, but this passage sticks out to me.
"I was brought here with the purpose of helping turn this team into a winner. On my first day as a Lion, I was told I should be here for the next 10-15 years, and ever since then, I’ve been committed to being part of the solution. I’ve always wanted to represent this city and the people here the right way, and I hope to spend my entire career here because it’s that meaningful to me."
Decker has been what every team envisions a first-round pick left tackle being, but doesn't always get. Congratulations to him on his 100th start for the Lions, with many more sure to come.