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Lions need to see what Decker can do in pads

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Taylor Decker (68)

Allen Park — Taylor Decker has been the primary left tackle for the Lions this spring, but the team is far from ready to commit to him as the starter for 2016.

“Pads go on when we come back, so we’ll see what’s happening,” coach Jim Caldwell said after minicamp concluded Thursday. “There will be a number of guys that we get a real good look at, so that’ll be fun.”

Obviously, the Lions’ top talent evaluators will spend the most time watching Decker as he competes to take over Riley Reiff’s job protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford’s blind side.

But, to say Decker is competing against Reiff this summer isn’t wholly accurate based on what occurred in organized team activities and minicamp. Reiff played right tackle exclusively in the practices open to the media, and it seems the team wants him prepared to play on that side.

Ultimately, although the team hasn’t unveiled its plans for training camp, the competition likely will come down to how Decker plays this summer compared to how Reiff has played in the past, as opposed to the two of them flipping spots each day. Reiff was the starting left tackle the last three years, so the Lions already know what he can do.

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One possible flaw in that plan is that Decker would also need time to adjust to right tackle, even though he played there at Ohio State in 2013.

For many players, filling into the starting slot at the same position they played in college is thrilling. Decker, though, seems pretty levelheaded in his approach.

“I’m just playing wherever they tell me to play, doing whatever they tell me to do,” he said.

Lions sign tight end

The Lions had four players trying out for the team during minicamp this week, and one of them must’ve been impressive.

Tight end Orson Charles, who last appeared in a regular season game in 2013, signed with the Lions Thursday.

The 6-foot-3, 254-pound Charles played in 29 games for Cincinnati from 2012-13, tallying nine catches for 109 yards. Now, he’ll compete for a roster spot and try to revive his career.

To make room for Charles, the Lions waived defensive end James DeLoach, an undrafted rookie from Georgia.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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