Why do NFL Draft analysts disagree? Every year, every prospect has his naysayers, even the members of the first overall pick club. If a player has a first-round grade for one scout and undraftable for another, there has to be a good reason. That's why every team seeks out multiple opinions. Allow one person to dominate decision-making, or groupthink to propagate, and an organization is increasing the risk of a bad decision.
Here at Buffalo Rumblings, we like to keep an open mind on draft prospects, knowing that there are members of the writing staff and community with different backgrounds and skills to collectively contribute. That's why we're bringing in guests to help break down prospects for you. This is a stream-of-consciousness series, where we both watch the same cut-up, write notes as we're viewing, and then deliver some short thoughts following the conclusion of the game. Two people may watch the same video and come out with different conclusions - or they may find themselves in total agreement). With the added perspective, we hope you'll join in with your own thoughts on the players we scout.
This week's guest is Buffalo Rumblings commenter stevemason, henceforth referred to as Steve. Steve has been doing draft analysis since 2009, and has started writing his analysis on his personal website. We both viewed tape of Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker, playing against Michigan in 2015, and it was our first viewing of that game. Steve's notes come first, and mine follow. Read the notes, watch the game if you'd like, and share your own thoughts below!
- Finished block well, all the way to the whistle.
- Has a tendency to straighten knees and stand upright on the second level.
- Long frame helped him hold off the edge rusher.
- Good use of hands.
- Able to square his shoulders to the defender and maintain balance.
- Not a lunger in the run game.
- Good awareness while zone blocking.
- Has the athleticism to move around and even pull if need be.
- Great job of burying his block, took his man out of the play.
- Turned hips well and closed off block on the outside.
- Not very good arm extension on run play to his side.
- Flagged for holding.
- Doesn’t really have a big punch off of the snap, needs to be more violent with his hands.
- Buried another block.
- Nice job of churning his feet in the run game; powerful legs.
- Keeps his shoulders square to defender and moves well laterally.
- Adapts well to changing circumstances.
- Crashed inside well and closed off lane for defender.
- Popped his hips well and extended arms on defender.
- Nice hand placement on defender.
- Showed very nice footwork moving left and right to keep defenders in front of him.
All in all, this was a very strong game from Taylor Decker. He was able to move his feet well and open up holes in the run game. I liked the way the finished his blocks, and on a number of occasions took his man all the way to the ground. Another thing I liked from Decker was his hand placement. While it would have been nice to see a more violent punch from the 6’8" tackle, he proved that good hand placement is key to maintaining balance in both the run and pass blocking games. Decker moves his hips and shoulders well for a guy his size, and kept his defender in front of him for most of the day. He was, however, flagged for a holding call. Not surprisingly his mechanics had a breakdown on this play. His arms did not extend well and he lunged at the Michigan player. I would like to see a little more bend out of him, but overall this was a strong game for Decker.
- First play a good look, blocks one guy, moves to the second level, pushes his man a few yards downfield.
- Definitely finishes his run blocks.
- The Meyer offense with Barrett under center must be tough to block for, not knowing where his quarterback going to move with the ball.
- 2nd and 10, Decker was walked back a bit in his pass set.
- Decker's kick slide might need a little work. His left foot moved kind of choppy on that play. Going to monitor.
- When he has a two-on-one blocking situation on Barrett's touchdown run, he does a good job using two hands to keep them both at bay as long as he needs.
- Decker has been doing a lot of run blocking in the first half. So far, he's doing a great job.
- Saw Decker bending at the waist on the Elliott touchdown. He's 6'8" and it might be difficult for him to sink into his stance for power.
- I don't really see Decker winning off the snap with his punch. It's either a draw or he's bumped back a step by the defender's punch.
- Start of the third quarter, finally had a pass protection snap against a rusher (not a contain guy), but he had help from the left guard.
- Nice kick-out block on Elliot's 2nd and 3 run.
- Decker was barely beaten on the 3rd and 1 kick out block attempt.
- It's noticeable on half speed, but Decker is usually a tiny tick slower off the snap than his teammates.
- Decker doesn't seem to be great at placing his hands into the opponent's chest and keeping them there. Flagged for holding.
- Decker hasn't been challenged with many standard pass-blocking sets. Finally had one with 4:38 left in the third quarter, and he held his own.
- Decent second-level block on 2nd and 10.
- I'd like to see Decker blocking for Cardale Jones, who is a little more of a pocket quarterback and might give Decker more plays to block an edge rusher in a phone booth.
- Decent drive block on 3rd and 3, but only a two-yard gain for the offense.
- Decker is clearly great at the blocking sled, and he showed it on that run.
- Jones in at quarterback. Sure enough, it was a good pass protection snap for Decker. Did a nice job mirroring the defender.
- Decker has a lot of blocking snaps where he's low, blocks a guy, and then the player comes free after being pushed to the side (almost as if Decker was ripping past them instead of staying in front). Not sure if that's intentional, or means that Decker is whiffing his blocks.
- 3rd and goal run: Decker has another one of those "rip" blocks, and his man makes the tackle on Elliott.
Decker definitely has some core strength, and moves well with his 6'8" physique. This evaluation was a little difficult because the Ohio State offense uses a lot of simplified spread concepts to win its games. I noticed a few technical flaws relating to Decker's upper body and hand usage on both run blocking and pass blocking. There weren't nearly enough true pass-blocking snaps for me to understand his skill there. In terms of run blocking, I know he has a mean streak, and I know he has strength, and I think he will be able to learn to be a strong run blocker, but it may take some development.