Eric Fisher to Chiefs: How Does Offensive Tackle Fit with Kansas City?
For the first time ever, a player from the Mid-American Conference was the top pick in the NFL draft, as the Chiefs selected Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
The pick was something of a minor upset, since Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel was considered the favorite for this spot for much of the offseason.
Bleacher Report NFL Lead Writer Matt Miller didn't mince words in his assessment of the pick, sticking by his guns on Bleacher Report's live coverage of the first round and repeating a statement he made earlier in the week.
The #Chiefs will be making a mistake if they draft Eric Fisher over Luke Joeckel. End of story.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 24, 2013
With that said, the fact of the matter is that Kansas City was in a position where it couldn't go wrong. Whether you consider Joeckel's polish or Fisher's potential, both players have Pro Bowler written all over them, and for that reason I gave the pick an "A" grade in my Chiefs' draft tracker here at Bleacher Report.
Now that the pick is in, the question becomes: How will Fisher fit in with the Chiefs? Frankly, that's a loaded question.
Here's the reason: While we know that Fisher will start for the Chiefs, as things stand right now, we don't know where.
For a moment, it appeared that it would be at right tackle. The Miami Dolphins, which have long been rumored to be a potential trade partner for left tackle Branden Albert, traded up in the first round. It looked like the team was poised to draft Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, which would have killed the Albert deal.
However, the Dolphins shocked fans and the media alike by choosing Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan. That leaves the possibility open that Miami will still deal for Albert, which would portend Fisher beginning his NFL career protecting Alex Smith's blind side.
At the end of the day, it may be better for the Chiefs in the long run if they can't unload Albert, at least where Eric Fisher is concerned.
The 6'7", 306-pound Fisher is incredibly athletic, and his upside is both considerable and undeniable but there are some flaws in his game. His technique and hand placement still have room for improvement, and his height sometimes leads to him getting "stood up" by defenders, causing a loss of leverage.
Not only would a season on the right side give him a year to work on those issues before adopting the all-important left tackle role, but playing right tackle would also play to Fisher's strengths in the run game.
How would you grade the Kansas City Chiefs' selection of Eric Fisher?
Fisher was the best run-blocker of the elite tackle prospects in this year's class, with NFL.com stating that Fisher "flashes nastiness as a drive blocker, latching on and churning his legs to push his man back a few yards."
That's the kind of thing that no doubt has Jamaal Charles smiling on Thursday night.
This isn't to say that Fisher beginning his career at left tackle would be bad necessarily. As I said earlier, Fisher is an incredibly athletic prospect, and his physical gifts will help to compensate for some of his flaws in the early going.
However, if Albert is dealt and Fisher plays left tackle, there are apt to be bumps in the road in pass protection. There's quite a difference between the Mid-American Conference and the NFL, and with little margin for error, Fisher may struggle in a few games in the short term.
Those struggles will become fewer and farther between as Fisher acclimates, and that's something one has to think the Chiefs carefully considered before deciding on him. If they wanted a polished, finished product, then Luke Joeckel would have been the pick.
He wasn't. The Chiefs went with the upside play, and once Fisher smooths out the rough edges and realizes his potential, Kansas City will have a player who could be the foundation of the offensive line for the next decade.
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