If there is an ideal candidate for the Eagles to draft with the No. 4 overall pick, it just might be Eric Fisher.

The Central Michigan tackle may be as close as there is in this draft to a "can't-miss" prospect. He fills an immediate need for the Eagles on the offensive line, and he projects as the eventual heir at left tackle, one that could anchor the unit for 10 years.

It sounds almost too good to be true. In fact, Fisher may be too good for it to be true.

Once given a mid-first-round grade by analysts, Fisher catapulted into the top 10 after a Senior Bowl performance that quelled concerns about his having played in a less-prominent conference.

Many still had him slotted behind Luke Joeckel and mock-drafted to the Eagles three picks after the Chiefs took the Texas A&M tackle. But Fisher's stock has seemingly spiked in recent weeks.

NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently moved Fisher ahead of Joeckel in his positional rankings and deemed him the No. 1 overall prospect in the draft.

In truth, there will be little movement on teams' draft boards in the week leading up to the draft, which starts April 25. But there's a general feeling that Fisher - after Joeckel goes first - could be selected by the Jaguars or the Raiders at Nos. 2 or 3 and that the Eagles would be forced to scramble with the top two tackles off the board.

"I think the first pressure point could be if Fisher and Joeckel are gone in the first three picks, Philadelphia is sitting at four, and Detroit desperately needs a tackle," Mayock said earlier this week.

The Eagles need a tackle, but it's not as necessary with Jason Peters and Todd Herremans on the roster. If they don't think Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, widely considered the third best tackle, is worth the No. 4 pick, they could leverage the Lions' need and trade down.

But if Fisher is still there, it's difficult to see Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman passing on the 22-year-old from Rochester, Mich. Roseman recently recalled when he first saw something special in Fisher.

"For us, we don't spend a lot of time on sophomores. . . . That's not a thing we spend a lot of time on unless they're obviously outrageous, out-of-the-box kind of guys," the Eagles general manager said. "But it's hard not to notice a guy when you have your scouts going to a smaller school and you see a guy standing out."

Fisher didn't stand out enough in high school for major Division I colleges to offer scholarships.

"In high school I was a 230-pound offensive tackle," Fisher recounted in February during the NFL combine. "I didn't really go around the country selling myself to every college team out there, and Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan were my only two offers."

The 6-foot-7 Fisher bulked up to 280 pounds by his sophomore season and was a stout 300 by his senior year. He weighed in at 306 pounds at the combine, but said he could add another 10-15 pounds to his frame without hindering his athleticism.

Mayock said he watched tape of Fisher pitching "shutouts" against the Big Ten's Michigan State and Iowa before arriving for the Senior Bowl and said he left Mobile, Ala., convinced of the tackle's legitimacy.

"I thought he dominated all week long," Mayock said.

Fisher solidified his position with a strong showing at the combine. He ran the fastest 20-yard shuttle among the offensive lineman. He had the second-longest broad jump.

Kelly hasn't divulged his preferences for offensive linemen, but he will conceivably need athletes that can keep up in his up-tempo offense. Peters and Herremans are impressive athletes, but they're both coming off injuries and are over 30 years old.

Fisher played at left tackle for most of his college career, but scouts say he's capable of playing on the right side. If the Eagles drafted him, Herremans could move back to guard and Fisher would hold down the right flank until it was time to replace Peters.

Fisher seemingly has it all. He's a technically sound pass protector. He can effectively zone block in the run game. He's what scouts a "road-grader," meaning he can be an effective power blocker. Some say he's more powerful than Joeckel.

And he plays with an edge that coaches like from their offensive linemen. Fisher said he showed up at the Senior Bowl with extra motivation.

"I went down there with a little chip on my shoulder," he said, "on a mission to prove to a lot of people who Eric Fisher is and what he's made of."

Will the Eagles get an opportunity to really find out?

Top Guard and Center Prospects

Here are the top-rated guards and centers in the NFL draft and some others the Eagles could select in the later rounds:

GUARDS                                     Projected

Player, college                   Ht.    Wt.     round

Chance Warmack, Alabama          6-2    317       1

Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina    6-2    311       1

Brian Winters, Kent State          6-4    320       2

Larry Warford, Kentucky             6-3    332     2-3

Alvin Bailey, Arkansas             6-3    312     3-4



Player, college                      Ht.    Wt.     round

Earl Watford, James Madison       6-3    300       4

J.C. Tretter, Cornell                6-4    307     4-5

CENTERS                                  Projected

Players, college                   Ht.    Wt.     round

Travis Frederick, Wisconsin         6-4    312       2

Brian Schwenke, California          6-3    314       3

Barrett Jones, Alabama             6-4    306     3-4

Jeff Baca, UCLA                   6-3    302     3-4

Khaled Holmes, Southern Cal       6-3    302     4-5



Player, college                      Ht.    Wt.     round

Braxston Cave, Notre Dame          6-3    303     5-6

Matt Stankiewitch, Penn State       6-3    302     6-7

- Jeff McLane

Eric Fisher Scouting Report

Physical numbers

Height          Weight          Arm length      Hands

6-foot-7          306 lbs.          341/2 in.       101/2 in.

Combine results

40-yard dash: 5.05 seconds Bench press: 27 reps

Vertical jump: 28.5 inches Broad jump: 116 inches

3-cone drill: 7.59 seconds    20-yard shuttle: 4.44 secs.


Fisher has drawn comparisons to 49ers Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley, also a product of Central Michigan. There are some similarities. He's tall, has long arms but is thick through the waist with room to add weight. Fisher is a natural athlete and quick off the snap. Scouts love his bend and ability to make difficult blocks. He has good balance in pass protection and can drive block in the run game. Many consider Fisher more powerful than Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, his rival as the top tackle prospect in the draft. He played left tackle throughout most of college but has the skill set to play on the right side.

- Jeff McLane