During his recruiting trip to Central Michigan, Eric Fisher couldn't help but notice Joe Staley's picture displayed prominently on the wall.
"I told myself I want to be that guy, too," Fisher said.
Fisher should get that chance. Staley was a first-round draft pick by San Francisco in 2008 out of Central Michigan who has blossomed into one of the NFL's top left tackles. Staley's a two-time Pro Bowler who will be blocking for Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore & Co. in Super Bowl XLVII against Baltimore.
As the top offensive tackle competing in this week's Senior Bowl, Fisher looks like a sure thing as a first-rounder in April's NFL draft. The decisions by Jake Matthews of Texas A&M and Taylor Lewan of Michigan to stay in school have pushed Fisher up the chart. Some observers project him as the second-best tackle in the draft pool this year, behind only Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.
"I try not to pay attention to that stuff," Fisher said. "I just try to become a better offensive lineman every day. I've really worked on my game, and this is a huge opportunity for me down here coming out of a MAC school to play against some of the elite."
The Rochester, Mich., native was not heavily recruited out of high school, getting only one other scholarship offer – from fellow Mid-American Conference school Eastern Michigan. He was lean 242 pounds entering college, which may partly explain it. But he has gradually filled out his 6-foot-7 frame, weighing in at 305 pounds at the Senior Bowl.
After starting games at right tackle, left tackle, and right guard as a freshman and sophomore, Fisher settled in at left tackle his final two seasons at Central Michigan. As his success and reputation increased, so did the comparisons to Staley.
"I get that a lot," Fisher said. "I like watching Joe play on Sundays. He's a very athletic (tackle). I take pride in being an athletic offensive lineman. I think it's kind of changing in the league to more athletic offensive linemen. So I just try to play how I'm comfortable playing. It's working out pretty good."
Tackle's rising stock could place him out of Rams' reach
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 23