Joe Staley was drafted 28th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Staley was an All Pro in 2011 and made the 2012 Pro Bowl team. Staley, like Fisher, is a former Chippewa of Central Michigan University.
The obvious comparisons between Staley and Fisher just don’t cut it. Staley was viewed as a finesse tackle prospect with superb athleticism for the position. As good as of an athlete as Staley was/is, Fisher may be even better. Fisher came into CMU as a 6’7″, 260 tackle that looked as if he would need time to develop. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Fisher has been an impact player for the Chippewa’s since stepping foot on campus. His struggles to keep weight on his enormous frame appear to be a thing of the past with Fisher checking in at 305 mark this offseason.
With athletic tackles being taken high in recent drafts (see Tyron Smith/Nate Solder), Fisher is viewed by many in the scouting community as someone that could emerge as a top 15 pick come April’s draft. We will put this assessment to the test in a film study session featuring Central Michigan versus Iowa. Iowa’s defensive line is down from year’s past but they still present challenges from an athletic standpoint. Fisher lines up across from Dominic Alvis a junior defensive end for most of the day. This is an absolutely dominating performance as Fisher graded out extremely high as he has for most of the season.
Here’s a look at just how dominating Fisher was in this contest and why he is viewed as the top senior tackle prospect and potential top 15 pick in April’s draft. At all of 6’7″ Fisher is expected to struggle in space with athletic linebackers, safeties, and corners. It’s always tough for taller tackles to break down to block smaller defenders. On this play, Fisher is asked to pull and attack the outside linebacker that has come down as a hanger on the play. Fisher does an excellent job sinking his hips on a 6’2″, 220 OLB that has a clear advantage in space against the bigger Fisher. This block is key in this play breaking for a touchdown. If the defender can leverage, he can blow up the play but Fisher’s technique and angle to the pursuing defender doesn’t allow for leverage as the play goes for six.
This is a great look at Fisher ability to work in space. He clears the running lane for the back as he’s able to use leverage and hand placement to force the Iowa defender to the outside. You can clearly see from this screenshot that Fisher has his left hand working under the right armpit of the defender giving him the ability to shove him further outside and clearing the lane for his back.
Fisher has been having his way with Iowa defenders throughout the first quarter. The one major question mark with Fisher coming into the season was how he would hold up in pass protection. Taller tackles struggle to sink their hips and keep a solid base. On more than a couple occasions last season, Fisher was walked back into the quarterbacks lap because he was unable to sink his butt and anchor in against stronger defenders.
To this point, Central Michigan relied on the short passing game. This being the first vertical pass of note. Fisher does an excellent job of sinking his hips, anchoring, and attacking the defender with a powerful punch. Because of Fisher’s technique, the quarterback feels no backside pressure on a play action pass that goes for a first down.
This is a great look at Fisher’s base. He’s sound with low hips, feet are balanced, and hand placement is perfect. This is worthy of showing pass protection technique to tackles.
It’s a big 3rd and 1 in the third quarter. You know who the Chippewa’s are going to run behind and so does the Iowa defense.
Fisher caves in the DT that was playing inside shade on him, so much so that they wind up blocking the 1-technique right out of the play as well. This leaves a solid hole for the back to pick up a big third down in this close contest. The other question mark with Fisher coming into the season was whether he was powerful enough in the run game. I have been most impressed with Fisher’s power in the run game as he was downright dominant in this contest in this respect.
This contest comes down to the wire. It’s 1st and 10 at the Chippewa’s 41 yard line. Plenty of pass pro from here on out for Fisher and he comes up big for CMU at the biggest moment.
Fisher passes off his man inside as the 1-technique is coming opposite C gap. Towards the end of this contest Iowa began looping their DT’s off the edge in the hopes of confusing Fisher and the Chippewa tackles. It doesn’t work as Fisher sees it coming and does a nice job passing his man inside and taking the outside pressure. Fisher has impressive eyes and one can tell he’s been coached up at CMU.
Eric Fisher presents a unique skill set in this class of junior heavy offensive tackles. Fisher remains the top senior tackle in this class with his extraordinary athleticism. What you see above is some of the reason why Fisher is a steal past the twentieth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Much thanks to JoshMTD for the use of the video. As always great job and check out Josh’s youtube channel for more prospect videos.