NFL Draft Profile: Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher

This is the fifth in a series. Click the link for profiles on Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Oregon’s Dion Jordan. Between now and April’s draft, we’ll profile as many prospects as possible.

THE RESUME

The pre-draft process from January to April is especially important for prospects like Eric Fisher.

Having spent four years in the MAC at Central Michigan, Fisher didn’t go up against top-level competition on a weekly basis. But the 6-foot-7, 306-pounder caught the attention of scouts and flourished at the Senior Bowl and Combine. He’s now considered a definite top-10 prospect, and Fisher could very well go in the top five.

“I thought the Senior Bowl was absolutely huge for me,” Fisher said. “I knew what I had to do to impress a lot of people and cancel all the doubt in people’s minds at the Senior Bowl. I went down there with a little chip on my shoulder on a mission to prove to a lot of people who Eric Fisher is and what he’s made of.”

Fisher, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson could all go in the top 10. The order of the three depends on individual teams and scheme fits.

“I thought Eric Fisher closed the gap at the Senior Bowl,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. “I loved him on the Michigan State [tape] before the Senior Bowl, and for me, I don’t see a whole lot of difference between Joeckel and Fisher.”

Fisher started his junior and senior seasons at left tackle. During his first two years, he spent time at left tackle, right tackle and right guard. He said he weighed about 230 coming out of high school, and therefore only received scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

Asked if he thinks he can play right tackle in the NFL, Fisher said, “Yeah, I think I’m a very versatile offensive lineman. I’ll play anywhere on the offensive line. I love the territory, I love playing in the trenches and doing my job.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Fisher rated as his No. 3 overall prospect:

Has dispelled concerns about competition level as his physical profile and strengths as an athlete match his performance. Uses his length really well. Gets in a wide base, uses his arms to absorb pass-rushers and simply doesn’t allow guys to get the edge on him. He often made it look easy in the MAC but also looked great when Central Michigan faced top competition. Has worked out well.

ESPN’s Todd McShay also has Fisher rated third:

Fisher stood out at the Senior Bowl with his impressive length, nimble feet and balance in pass protection. He shows good footwork and the ability to hit moving targets when pulling, and appears to have the power to create movement at the point of attack. He could anchor more effectively at times, but he has the skill set to thrive at left tackle in the NFL.

Mayock has Fisher ranked behind Joeckel as his second-best offensive tackle.

Josh Norris of Rotoworld has Fisher as his No. 2 prospect:

Long left tackle that finds contact through his hands with quick extension. Flashes nastiness as a drive blocker or when finishing off blocks in pass protection. Still filling out frame, but doesn’t have to.

AN EAGLES SLANT

The Eagles showed interest in a pair of offensive tackles during free agency: Jake Long and Eric Winston. Long signed with the Rams, and Winston remains on the market.

What’s noteworthy though is that their interest means Chip Kelly and company very well could prefer sliding Todd Herremans back inside to guard. A Fisher-Herremans-Jason Kelce-Evan Mathis-Jason Peters offensive line would be among the best in the league on paper.

Fisher could come in and play right tackle immediately, and he would provide insurance for Peters at left tackle. Peters is 31 and coming off an Achilles’ injury (and re-injury).

If history is any indication, the Eagles are going to run the ball a lot out of the spread. Fisher looks to have the ability to be an elite run blocker at the NFL level.

MOCK PROJECTIONS

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has Fisher going seventh to the Cardinals.

Kiper has him going second to the Jaguars.

McShay has him falling to the Bills at No. 8.

Tony Pauline of USA Today has Fisher going seventh.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has Fisher going seventh too.

Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com thinks Andy Reid will take Fisher first overall.

Norris agrees. He’s got Fisher No. 1 too.

VIDEO BREAKDOWNS

The first video (courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com) is from a 2012 game against Iowa. Granted, the Hawkeyes were 4-8 last year, but this was Big 10 competition.

Fisher was solid in pass protection, but his athleticism in the run game really stands out. At the 9-second mark, you can see Fisher pull to the right side and get his hands on the linebacker, opening up a lane for the running back.

On the touchdown run at the 1:35 mark, Fisher gets out in front, pins the defensive back to the outside and helps create a lane for the running back.

The next video is from Central Michigan’s bowl game against Western Kentucky.

The Hilltoppers were a 7-6 team out of the Sun Belt Conference, but Fisher was dominant in this game.

At the 1:40 mark, he swallows up the defensive back at the second level. At the 2-minute mark, he blocks and pins the defensive end to the ground. And at 5:25, he once again shows his athleticism, pulling and getting his hands on the linebacker.

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  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    it would be rather delightful watching Joeckle, Fisher or Lane go against Fletcher Cox in camp. Puts to mind Reggie White going against the Kid from Bartram…. Erik Williams. Those were legendary battles.

  • Richard Colton

    What if I told you you could have a 22 year old, meaner version of Jon Runyon with better footwork, technique, and athleticism? That he could protect your QB’s blind side for ten years, and go to multiple pro-bowls while making Anthony Spencer and Jason Pierre-Paul his personal playthings?

    What if I told you that you could sit still in round #1 and this guy would be there?

    Interested?

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Terron Armstead ?

      • Richard Colton

        Yeah Dutch. Our mutual man-crush on Terron Armstead is well documented. Would you flip-out if they took Fisher in the 1st and Armstead in the 2nd?

  • eaglesfan11

    i like tavon austin at #4. This maybe a little high for him but he is by far the most explosive player in the draft. Chip Kelly would have a field day using austin all over the field. they can get o line depth further back in the draft. you wont find a tavon austin anywhere else.

    • Richard Colton

      5’8″ WRs don’t generally get picked #4 in the draft. Not to mention that a month ago you could have had this kid in the 3rd round, but I guess the combine makes believers of us all (said Ray Rhodes to Mike Mamula).

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        I wouldn’t compare him to Mamula as much as I would compare him to Steve Smith from the Panthers or Percy Harvin of the Seahawks. He’s pretty elusive and impossible to cover one on one, he’s going to require a safety over the top and is a threat on a return team. You don’t want him in space with the ball.

        Austin and DJax on a reverse or screens could be a nightmare for defenses.

        • Richard Colton

          Yeah – even in a Danny Woodhead role. This kid could be used all over the field. But at 4?

          • MAC

            So we want a 5’9 170 lb Jackson, a 5’11 190 lb Maclin, and then add a 5’8 Austin in the draft? Guys this is the NFL you have to have some size at WR for the QB to hit on hot routes and to just throw ball up 1 on 1 at times. I don’t care how elusive they all are, at those heights and weights it makes no sense to me. We need a guy to go across the middle also and be able to run all the route tree. Those 3 WR to me make little sense to group together.

          • ohitsdom

            Riley Cooper is 6′ 3″, Arrelious Benn is 6′ 1″”, Avant is 6′ 0″ and Maclin is 6′ as well.

          • GGeagle21

            Mac…I think we are set at Big RECIEVER with Benn and Riley, because in Chip’s offense, I expect a plethora of big TE pass catching weapons…but I still think us drafting Tavon Austin is a joke, when you have the types of needs we have. The only way drafting Tavon makes sense to me, is if you decide that you won’t want to pay Maclin and Jackson both big money, and decide to trade Maclin. if Maclin is traded, then I would entertaining drafting Tavon, but NEVER at #4.

          • Richard Colton

            I like him. he’s a talented football player and put up scary numbers in college. I would never, ever entertain the thought of drafting him at #4, which was the premise of the thread. Since he won’t be there at #35, I’m almost positive he won’t be an Eagle.

      • JofreyRice

        You’re absolutely correct. No way he goes that high. He’s a tougher runner than Desean Jackson, but the guy is still just 170 pounds. Vince Wilfork has more than that in his mustache after he eats soup. What happens when JPP blows through Danny Watkins and tackles Austin with a head of steam? Maybe he’s tough as hell, and can take the pounding, but it’s just too big a risk to use a #4 pick for a guy like that.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Tavon is impressive and has the tape to back it up, but he wasn’t the most productive receiver at West Virginia in 2012, Stedman Bailey playing opposite Austin amassed 1600 yds, and 25 touchdowns. He’s going to be available late 3rd and probably the 4th, he has a Legal issue, sticky finger discounter.

      • eaglesfan11

        That’s because bailey caught all the deep balls and piled up the yards. Austin did all the dirty work. Austin can return kicks play hb play the slot and out wide. What type of guys has chip kelly picked up lately. Multiple players that can do anything. Austin is that guy. Desean is fast but his route running is suspect and he doesn’t see the field like a rb. That’s why desean doesn’t return kicks. You have to see the holes open up. Austin is a running back that can play anywhere. He would be kellys deanthony thomas. Chip kellys scheme is getting guys in space and austin is no match for anyone in the nfl one on one

  • southy

    For all that road-grading talent, they don’t seem all that interested in running in behind him.

  • GGeagle21

    Why are we investing close to 20million in OTs, if we still need take such a valuable pick away from a defense that desperately needs it? Why is Herremans getting paid OT money on a brand new deal, if you want to make him a guard? Why is Peters our highest paid player, if you are just going to treat him as a stop gap player?.I need defense with the 4th pick, but I think the world of Fisher…if you are going to draft Eric Fisher, you better restructure some of the OTs contracts….I know about the injuries..I know they need capable backups, but a capable backup does not need to be taken with the 4th pick. Fisher and Joekel aren’t the last two OTs on earth…We can go Kyle Long in round 2, experienced in chip Kelly’s fast pace approach..might be able to play RT, but will be a beast of a RG. terror Armstead, menelek watson…these will all be quality NFL Lineman, none of which, need to be taken with the 4th pick in the draft…Lewan and Mathews will also be coming out next year…

    PEOPLE think OT isn’t a sexy position to draft..well do you really want to draft a center. Because you won’t have a choice, unless you are able to land Barrett Jones, who combined with the TODDfather, can backup all 5 positions on the line, while also starting for us at RG….Instead of fisher at 4, I would rather go:
    Rd1) Dion/Sharrif/Star/Ziggy
    Rd2) Kyle Long RT/RG
    RD3) Barrett Jones
    Rd4)CB Brandon McGee
    Rd5) TE Nick “Do you like girls?” Kasa
    Rd7)
    -Safety Rontez Miles, DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH D2 can play both safety positions. big Hitter, has been compared to Laron Landry, but can cover(9 INTs past two seasons combined)
    -Safety 6’4 Dexter McCoil Tulsa…this kid will be this years Richard Sherman, and I think the Seahawks know it, and are targeting him late.
    -Safety 6’4 Cooper Taylor
    -oG Backus

    • GGeagle21

      We also need to AQUIRE ATleast one other pick in some way so we can draft an additional NT/5Tec

    • MAC

      Tackles both coming off injury and are over 30 yrs old. We need depth and insurance at tackle. It’s not as simple as we already are paying Herremans and Peters all this $ so were all set no matter there age or the fact there coming off an season ending injuries.