NFL.com recently published a list ranking the ten #1 overall draft picks of the last decade, and Eric Fisher came in ninth, which is absurd.
In 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs ended the season with the worst record in franchise history at 2-14. Due to their dismal showing the team fired their general manager and head coach, and earned the right to make the number one overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. It was the second time K.C. had picked first overall in franchise history.
So the team got to work. Owner Clark Hunt hired John Dorsey as the team’s new general manager, and veteran NFL head coach Andy Reid to right the ship. The pair embarked on the draft journey and quickly realized that the 2013 draft class was… not an ideal one to own the top pick in.
Nevertheless, the team traded for veteran quarterback Alex Smith, and used the number one pick on small school offensive tackle Eric Fisher. The Central Michigan product was coined a talented project, but one who would take time to succeed in the NFL–if he ever did at all.
Fast forward 12 months down the road, and the Chiefs were coming off of a playoff appearance and an 11-5 record, and while Eric Fisher struggled in many of his 13 starts, he was good enough that he’d cemented himself as the franchise’s left tackle for the foreseeable future. Fast forward another three years, and the Chiefs rewarded Fisher for his play with a four year, $48 million extension which would keep him in Kansas City through the 2021 season.
Now jump ahead to the present, and the former Pro Bowl left tackle is not only a mainstay on the team’s offensive line, but is also a Super Bowl Champion. A groin injury forced him to undergo surgery after Week 3 of the 2019 season, and the Chiefs noticed his absence in a big way. The team went 4-4 in the weeks Fisher was missing from the lineup. Fortunately, Fisher returned for Week 11 and the Chiefs never lost again, winning nine straight games en route to winning Super Bowl LIV.
Despite this, fans and analysts nationwide still want to discredit the contributions of “Big Fish”, and the disrespect has got to end. NFL.com’s Ali Bhanpuri recently ranked the top number one overall selections of the last decade, and of the ten players taken first, he ranked Fisher as the ninth best pick. What?
I’m not here to elect Eric Fisher to the Hall of Fame or anything, but ninth? That is truly absurd.
The first problem with Bhanpuri’s rankings is that they appear undecided if they’re ranking players for their career results or for their standing in the NFL’s status quo. Why? Well, the rankings list free agent quarterback Cam Newton first, retired quarterback Andrew Luck second, and one year NFL veteran quarterback Kyler Murray fourth. Something does not compute here. There is no way you can argue that Murray, in one year as a starter in which his team went 5-10-1, has had a better career than anyone below him on the list. However, if we were ranking players based on their current NFL standings – one could not justify putting a free agent or a retiree at the top of the list.
Regardless of which way you look at the rankings, Fisher is incredibly, and disrespectfully, undervalued at ninth overall. There are four players ranked ahead of him in this set of rankings that, regardless of which way you’re ranking them, the seven year pro should be ranked ahead of. Among the eight ranked at the top include: Murray (4th), Jared Goff (5th), Baker Mayfield (7th) and Jameis Winston (8th). Murray has accomplished nothing, Jared Goff was embarassed in a Super Bowl and was bad in 2019; Mayfield has done nothing but underwhelm and underperform relative to expectations; and Winston did not earn a second contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after throwing 30 interceptions in 2019.
To rank Fisher below any of them is an insult to the consistency and stability he has brought to the Chiefs offensive line. Based on career resume, Fisher could be first if one chose to rank him there, given the fact that he is the only one with a Super Bowl title. Even still, fourth would be a fair ranking in the exercise, behind Newton, Luck and defensive end Myles Garrett.
You do not have to believe that Fisher is the best left tackle in football (he’s not); you don’t even have to believe that he’s the best left tackle from the 2013 draft (he’s not). But, to consider him only the ninth best number one overall pick since 2010 is insulting and disrespectful. Eric Fisher is a good, quality starting left tackle in the NFL, and the Kansas City Chiefs are fortunate to have him.