While most of the top names that have been talked about leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft played on teams in the prominent BCS conferences where they were exposed to the national spotlight during their college years, there’s one player who you probably never heard of before the combine. Eric Fisher, a left tackle out of Central Michigan University might not be a household name to the average college football fan, but he’s well known amongst NFL scouts and general managers from around the league.
Fisher is widely regarded as one of the best players in this draft (NFL.com grades him out as the fifth best player available with a 93.3). In fact, some people in the Chiefs camp would even say he’s the best player available. At 6-foot 7-inches and 306-pounds, Fisher is a lean, athletic left tackle with quick feet. An incredible athlete, Fisher is agile and has the strength and size to block the biggest bulls on the defensive line, and the quickness and tenacity to keep up with the swiftest pass rushing defensive ends. In the running game Fisher has the ability to get to the second level and drive his man back with the best of them. Scouts most closely compare him to two-time All-Pro left tackle Joe Staley of the 49ers, who coincidently was drafted out of CMU in 2007 as the 28th overall pick.
Despite his tremendous abilities, one thing working against him (maybe the only reason this senior isn’t rated as the top tackle in the draft) is that while the other top offensive lineman in this class were consistently going up against the powerful SEC and ACC defensive lines every weekend, Fisher was going up against the relatively weak defenses of the MAC. In fact Fisher’s crowning moments of his career (he was voted third team AP All-American this past season) came despite the teams lackluster performance during his final three years in Mount Pleasant, Mich..
Fisher also is relatively inexperienced for an elite prospect. He only started in 65 percent of his career games at CMU and really didn’t start to separate himself as a potential top-tier pick until late in his senior season. But with his natural skills and a frame that has the ability to add more solid weight while maintaining his athleticism, Fisher is full of tremendous upside.
A two-star recruit coming out of Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, Mich., Fisher didn’t even start playing line until his senior season. A scrawny but tall athletic kid, fisher had spent time playing quarterback, outside linebacker and punter during his first three seasons of high school. He was such a versatile threat on the gridiron while at Stoney Creek that he was able to pull off this bit of trickery on a fake punt.
But before his senior season, Fisher was moved to the offensive line when he told his coach that he wanted to pursue a college football career. Fisher had never even been in a three point stance before that season. But after learning the basics of line play, Fisher took to the position like a natural.
"He went to Eastern Michigan and he just took charge. He got in the front of the line on every drill. When we got done, the Eastern coaches came to me. They said: 'This is unbelievable. We don't even know who Eric Fisher is. We're going to offer him a full-ride scholarship,’ " recounted his former head coach Calvin Gross to the Detroit Free Press earlier this year.
Fisher entered college barely weighing more than 250-pounds but in five short seasons after first getting down in a three-point stance, Fisher has become one of the most sought after commodities in the 2013 draft. Once a scrawny punter, Fisher is now one of the few can’t-miss things in this year’s draft and looks like he’ll be an All-Pro left tackle for years to come.