2015 NFL Draft Preview: OL Jake Fisher
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series is back. Over the course of the 10 weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This seventh week, the focus is on offensive linemen. Today’s O-line prospect is Jake Fisher out of the University of Oregon.
Jake Fisher began his career as a reserve right guard in 2011. In 2012, he played in all 13 games and started 11 at right tackle. He earned PAC-12 Honorable Mention honors for his efforts. Fisher was named PAC-12 Honorable Mention again in his junior season after appearing in 12 of 13 games.
Fisher was slated to start at right tackle to begin the 2014 season, but an injury to teammate Tyler Johnstone paved the way for Fisher to move to left tackle. Fisher's effect on the Oregon team was never more evident than in the two games he missed. Against Washington State and Arizona—Oregon's first and only loss until the National Championship game—the Ducks allowed a whopping 12 sacks without Fisher in the lineup. When Fisher returned for the UCLA game, Marcus Mariota was not sacked once.
Fisher has ideal size for the left tackle position, standing at 6'6 - 305 pounds with room to add more weight to his frame. His movement skills are outstanding, and he showcased his exceptional athleticism at the combine. Here are his results in the speed and agility drills (rank among participating offensive lineman in parentheses):
40-Yard Dash: 5.01 seconds (2nd)
Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches (tied for 2nd)
3-Cone Drill: 7.25 seconds (1st)
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.33 seconds (1st, better than 5-year combine average for Tight Ends)
I thoroughly enjoyed watching how smooth Fisher was in the position drills, in which both he and former LSU OL La'El Collins looked outstanding. Fisher has the size and athletic ability to mirror edge rushers on the blind side and could develop into a dependable NFL left tackle.
Also, his former offensive line coach at Oregon, Steve Greatwood, said Fisher plays with "reckless abandon that can really frustrate defenders." A mean streak is a must for me with offensive lineman, and Fisher checks the box.
I think Fisher has the ability to play left tackle, the most valuable position on the offensive line. This distinction is key to how highly he will be valued come draft day. Some teams may be hesitant to draft Fisher as a left tackle because he didn't play left tackle until his senior season and doesn't have extensive experience protecting the quarterback's blind side.
The only area of the combine Fisher did not dominate was the bench press; as a result, his strength will be questioned. Fisher completed 25 reps, which is a good number but not outstanding. He may never be a mauler in the run game, but I am not concerned with Fisher's power at all. He has the type of frame that will allow him to add 15–20 pounds of muscle without compromising his balance or quickness.
Fisher has all of the physical tools to be a solid NFL offensive lineman and potentially a left tackle. He has had an outstanding off-season thus far, performing extremely well at both the combine and Oregon's Pro Day. The grade I've seen most commonly associated with Fisher is somewhere in the 2nd round. I believe Fisher belongs in the later part of the 1st round, somewhere between picks 20–30. His size and athletic skill set are a rare combination, and the potential to get a left tackle at the end of the 1st round is enticing.
Fisher's athleticism would make him a perfect fit in Philadelphia with his former college coach Chip Kelly. The Eagles, who own the 20th pick in the 1st round are set at both tackle spots with Jason Peters at left tackle and Lane Johnson at right tackle. Fisher could slide inside to guard—if the Eagles do in fact move on from guard Evan Mathis, which has been rumored as of late—and eventually move outside to tackle.