We all knew this day was coming. The end of the preseason spells the evaluation of the rookie draft class, and there is no pick more scrutinized than the number one overall pick. That pick belonged to the Kansas City Chiefs this year.
This years pick was even more scrutinized because of the tough decision that had to be made to take Fisher or Luke Joeckel number one overall. Fisher was evaluated as more athletic with a huge upside ,while Joeckel was evaluated as the more technically sound prospect. Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey chose to go with the Central Michigan guy in Fisher. Either pick would have been fine by me, but with Fisher and Joeckel essentially going head to head in week one, my evaluation going into this game is necessary because there is no doubt in my mind that after the game, there will be either cheers or gripes based on who performs better.
Hindsight is 20/20 after all.
Fisher started off the preseason on a rough note because of injury issues. Shoulder and hand injuries are something lineman have a tough time fighting through, and as a rookie, it made it even worse for Fisher. After the San Francisco game, people were really starting to doubt Fisher’s ability. He got dominated at the line of scrimmage and left the game early due to injury.
Thankfully, he bounced back against Pittsburgh. This was a big test for Fisher because he faced a solid pass rusher in LaMarr Woodley. I am very happy to say Fisher passed that test, at least in my opinion, but I’m not the only one who thought so. Adam Teicher of ESPN recently gave his opinion in regard to that game, saying, “He showed a great degree of toughness when he lined up and played in the third preseason game and did a pretty good job against a pretty good player in LaMarr Woodley.”
Heading into Jacksonville, I will give Eric Fisher the grade of B-. I like what I’ve e seen so far, but I am concerned that he will have injury issues this year. I am also concerned that because of the division he is in, and because of his inexperience against elite pass rushers, he will have a tough time against guys like Von Miller, for example.
The good thing about a guy like Fisher though, is that he has huge upside. There is a lot of room to improve.
The upside could contribute to Fisher becoming one of the better tackles in the league.
He needs to be able to stay healthy and try to fight through injuries. He also needs to use his athletic ability and size to keep the elite pass rushers of this league in check.
As far as week one is concerned, Joeckel will be blocking Justin Houston while Fisher will be blocking Tyson Alualu. Joeckel will have the bigger challenge, but it doesn’t matter who you face. All that matters is that you can prevent your man from getting to the quarterback on pass plays, and blow up your man on the line of scrimmage downfield on run plays.
I believe Eric Fisher will eventually fill into the mold of a number one overall pick. It will just take time for him to come away with an A grade. Week one at Jacksonville will be a big first step for the rookie lineman.