Photo courtesy FootballNation.com.
Mike Mayock recently went on record as saying Eric Fisher is his No. 1 tackle in this year’s draft—ahead of Joeckel. His reasoning (via Marc Sessler of NFL.com) is as follows:
This is no way an indictment of Luke Joeckel; I think he’s going to be an All-Pro three years from now. It’s more an indication of my belief that there’s just a little bit more upside with Eric Fisher. He’s a little bit longer, I think he has better feet and he’s a little bit more athletic.
He went on to say that Joeckel has had issues with being beaten to the inside—as many as three times in a game—whereas Fisher does not have that issue.
The problem I see with that analysis is as rudimentary as 1+1=2.
The talent faced by the two tackles was far different. Fisher faced the likes of William Gholston, Joe Gaglione, Alan Baxter and Jonathan Newsome (you probably have heard of one of those players).
Joeckel faced guys like Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo of LSU, Corey Lemonier of Auburn, Margus Hunt of SMU and Adrian Hubbard of Alabama.
Four of those five are going to be high draft picks this year; the other—Alabama’s Hubbard—could be on his way to a high draft pick. You’ll hear a lot about him next year.
The talent level Joeckel faced was far better than that of Fisher. I’m not slighting Fisher’s ability as much as I am defending Joeckel’s. Mayock missed the boat on this one.
And who knows, maybe he’s just trying to be different. But he has to stick with his choice now; there’s no going back to Joeckel as his No. 1 tackle before the draft.