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 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.
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.
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.