Who is the top senior offensive tackle available in the 2013 NFL Draft?
That’s a question that I know millions of people are dying to know right now (just a hint of sarcasm there).
But in all seriousness, with the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, it’s a legitimate question.
There’s many candidates; Rick Wagner from the Wisconsin Badgers, Dallas Thomas of the Tennessee Volunteers, Oday Aboushi from the Virginia Cavaliers, Tanner Hawkinson from the Kansas Jayhawks and Brennan Williams from the North Carolina Tar Heels are all viable candidates for the top spot. But in my mind it’s Eric Fisher from the Central Michigan Chippewas. Here’s why…
Fisher is simply gigantic at 6’8” and 305lbs. He has fantastic size for either the left or right tackle spots. And the 300+ pounds isn’t bad weight either, considering his frame, he carries it well.
He’s functionally strong for the position, but still needs to get stronger. He’s surprisingly quick on his feet and is exceptionally mobile for the position- getting to the second level isn’t a problem for him. Considering his great height, he’s got excellent knee bend, and shows excellent balance in his kick slide.
He’s also got all the intangibles that you look for. He’s a good student and a hard worker. He only had two scholarship offers coming out of high school (Central and Eastern Michigan), meaning he’s had an awful lot of drive to get to where he’s at. You’re not going to have to worry about him getting in trouble or ‘making it rain’ in strip clubs- a la Pacman Jones. Simply put, he’ll be a solid addition to any locker room.
Bottom line is that he’s got a lot of talent. He’s got size you can’t coach. The main things he needs to work on can almost all be solved in an NFL weight room. Many are comparing him to another former Chippewa, Joe Staley (1st Round by San Francisco 49ers in 2007), but I think a better comparison would be to Nate Solder (1st Round by New England Patriots in 2011).
Why Solder? Because when Solder was coming out, he was getting reviewed upon the same way: he’s very tall (6’8” 320lbs), but will he be able to keep on weight? Is he strong enough? Will he be quick enough for the edge rushers? Sure enough, Solder was on numerous all-Rookie teams last year.
I think Fisher will be a first round pick, barring a drastic change of events. He might not be the first offensive tackle taken (Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, an underclassmen, will be that guy), but I can absolutely see him get taken around the middle of the first round, probably in a spot close to where Solder was taken (17th).