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2020 NFL Draft

Ohio State's Taylor Decker enters NFL Combine with heightened expectations

INDIANAPOLIS — At 6-foot-7, Taylor Decker is the tallest offensive lineman at the NFL Combine. And depending on how you approach that fact, it could be a good or bad thing.

"It's harder to get low, and football's a game of leverage. So you're going to have to bend more to get lower and have some flexibility," Decker said Wednesday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. "And at the same time, you're going to have longer limbs, so you create more leverage — guys can't get into your chest, get into your body … I don't think it's something that's served me poorly through my career."

Indeed, the former Ohio State captain is regarded as one of the best players at his position and potentially a first-round pick in April's NFL draft. The 320-pounder from Vandalia, Ohio, was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes and helped lift coach Urban Meyer and company to a national championship two seasons ago.

Decker is also the latest Ohio State offensive lineman to enter the league's draft process with something of a buzz around him after former teammates in Indianapolis Colts guard Jack Mewhort and Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell earned starting roles for their clubs. In 2014, the trio anchored an offensive line that's regarded as one of the best in program history.

Decker said he's sought advice from the pair.

"I've heard from some guys that I played with in college who have moved on and had some success that obviously the style of play is a lot different, but also at the same time it's still football," he said.

"I think the biggest challenge is probably going to be, even though I played some good players in college, I'm going to face the best players I'm ever going to see every single week. There's no room for error, you can't have an off game because as an offensive lineman, a couple bad plays means a bad game."

The Browns hold the No. 2 and 32 selections in the draft along with a slew of other picks, and coach Hue Jackson said the team is seeking the best player available at each of those spots. Cleveland has selected an offensive lineman in the first or second round in three of the past four drafts.

Decker — who was the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year last season — said he has high expectations for himself as a rookie.

"I don't think anybody would want to come in and be like, 'Oh, I'll ride the bench for a couple years.' I want to come in immediately, and I want to be a starter. I don't want to just be a player, 'we can survive with him.' I want to be able to add some value to the team, be an asset, and not a guy who's dead weight," he said.

"And that's a huge goal to have, and it's going to be very difficult to do, but it's something I'm going to chase and hopefully accomplish."

On playing against teammate/defensive end Joey Bosa, who's projected to be a top NFL draft pick:

"He's an incredible player. Really complete. Plays the run really well, and he's strong, quick off the ball, good with his hands," Bosa said. "He's just such a good player. So if you do something wrong, he's going to figure out what it is an expose you."

On teammate/running back Ezekiel Elliott, who finished with 3,961 yards and 43 touchdowns in three seasons with the Buckeyes:

"Zeke's definitely one of my favorite guys … he's just a goofy guy," Decker said. "Ton of personality. I think that's kind of different for the running back position from other guys I've seen. He was just fun to block for because the No. 1 thing, regardless of what he was doing on a play, he was going to go full speed. I've said it a bunch of times before, some of my favorite plays of his are him blocking people, cutting people. Whoever gets in front of him is going to get hit and he loves it. He always talks about, 'Oh I wish I was a lineman.'"

On whether he'd move from left tackle to right:

"Absolutely I would. I want to be an asset to whatever team."

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