Central Michigan offensive tackle prospect Eric Fisher will continue soaring up draft boards after an impressive showing at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. In fact, his performance was so stellar that it should clinch a top-five selection for the former Chippewa.
NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock is willing to imply that Fisher could be selected with the No. 1 overall pick (h/t NFL.com), currently held by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel documented the comparison Mayock made between Fisher and San Francisco 49ers All-Pro left tackle Joe Staley, who also attended Central Michigan:
Mike Mayock said LT Eric Fisher "is better than Joe Staley, and that says a lot."— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) February 18, 2013
That's pretty high praise to be heaping on a prospect, and Mayock wouldn't do it if Fisher wasn't a legitimately pro-ready player. At 6'7" and 306 pounds, Fisher has outstanding athleticism and even more room to fill out.
His performance at the combine included the best broad jump amongst offensive linemen at 116 inches—or nine feet, eight inches. That showcases his explosiveness at the point of attack, and his agility was on display in the 20-yard shuffle as well.
Fisher posted a time of 4.44 seconds in that event—best amongst those who play in the trenches on offense. He also ran a 5.05 40-yard dash, put up 225 pounds 27 times on the bench press and posted a 28.5-inch vertical leap.
When should Eric Fisher be drafted?
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler agrees with the assertion that Fisher is prominently in the No. 1 conversation along with Joeckel and West Virginia QB Geno Smith.
The combination of power and quick feet that Fisher possesses makes him especially strong in pass protection, which is why he is such a hot commodity.
Although he played predominantly Mid-American Conference competition in college, it doesn't take away from how fundamentally sound Fisher's technique is. He was rarely ever beaten at Central Michigan, and has the prototypical frame and athleticism to thrive in the pros immediately.
It was unclear as to where Fisher would wind up being selected when Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews were contemplating going pro after their junior seasons. Once those two returned to school, though, the stage was set for Fisher to shine—and he has completely capitalized.
Going No. 1 will be a difficult hill for Fisher to climb, as he is facing competition from Aggies tackle Luke Joeckel, who played better competition in the SEC and is slightly superior to Fisher in run-blocking.
It's possible that Fisher goes to the Chiefs at No. 1 as Brugler currently projects, but the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders each have more pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball.
Also look for the Philadelphia Eagles to deeply ponder Fisher with the fourth pick in the draft.
Chip Kelly is bringing his exciting offensive schemes to Philly, but needs better blocking for those to translate to a better, more consistent attack. With mobile, scrambling QBs Michael Vick, Dennis Dixon and the potential future face of the franchise in Nick Foles, there are important signal-callers that the Eagles have to protect for the future.
The Detroit Lions might use its fifth overall pick to take Fisher as well. Riley Reiff was drafted in the first round last year though, so it may not be on the Lions' list of foremost priorities. But Fisher might be selected by default, based on the "best player on the board" mentality.
If he isn't selected with the top pick or in the first five, Fisher would never fall past the Arizona Cardinals at No. 7, since they are a team in desperate need of offensive-line help. It's very possible that Arizona would even trade up to snag Fisher.
The San Diego Chargers could wait on Lane Johnson from Oklahoma at No. 11, but if Fisher is getting hype as the top pick, it may force the new regime's hand to move up.
After such an outstanding combine, it's hard to argue with the notion that Fisher could be the best prospect on the board at any time in April. That essentially guarantees he won't fall out of the top five.