Although offensive tackle Luke Joeckel has been getting a lot of attention, small school product Eric Fisher is making a strong case that he should be the top offensive tackle off the board in this years NFL Draft. Out of Central Michigan, Fisher stands at 6-7 and 306 pounds. Despite the prototypical offensive tackle frame, Fisher showed some versatility, playing guard at times.
At the next level, Fisher will line up on the outside, but again teams should be aware that he has versatility. The majority of his tenure was at left tackle, but Fisher also lined up at right tackle for a handful of games.
What allows Fisher to succeed most at the tackle position has to be his footwork. For such a large guy, he is very quick on his feet and doesn’t let defenders beat him to the edge. He’s also able to shift and stay on defenders when they try to break off in another direction. Fisher does all of this while keeping a wide base that makes it very difficult to get around. Defenders who try to go through Fisher don’t have much success either. He keeps a fairly low center of gravity despite his height.
In the run game, Fisher uses that same low center of gravity to get underneath defenders. His long arms allow him to get a good push on smaller defenders, but he sometimes struggles to get a good push on bigger defenders. As tall as he is, he could afford to put some weight on his frame.
Fisher has decent speed for his size, recording a 5.05 40-yard dash time at this year’s NFL Combine. This gives him the ability to pull and get to the second level with effectiveness. His big frame allows him to swallow linebackers or safeties and spring big plays. He doesn’t have elite run-blocking ability, but he is more then serviceable.
Check out this video of Fisher against Michigan State, via DraftBreakdown.com.
If Joeckel is the first tackle off the board, it seems like Fisher may be available for the Eagles with the fourth overall selection. Although Joeckel has shown that he can be very successful in a read option type offense, I believe that Fisher is a better balanced tackle. He has more talent as a run blocker and is on a pretty level playing field with Joeckel as far as pass blocking goes.
The question for the Eagles will be how high they value the offensive tackle position and who else is on the board at that time. I think another desirable quality of Fisher is his experience in playing right tackle. With the return of Jason Peters, the Eagles would likely ask Fisher to play on the right side out of the gate. He could then move to the left side further down the road.
If both tackles were on the board at four and the Eagles wanted to take one, it would be interesting to see who they would value more. Joeckel may be a better fit for the offense the Eagles plan to run, but Fisher seems to be a more balanced player with more versatility.