Eric Fisher hopes to take similar path as Joe Staley into NFL

By Matt Rybaltowski |
Eric Fisher looks to be the second Central Michigan player to be taken in first round of NFL Draft. (USATSI)

When Eric Fisher took a recruiting trip to Central Michigan several years ago his eyes became fixed upon a framed picture of Joe Staley, the team's left tackle and 2008 first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers.

Now, Fisher a potential top-10 pick in the NFL Draft, is leaning heavily on Staley as he makes a similar transition from the small MAC school. Fisher spoke often with Staley leading into this week's NFL Scouting Combine.

“It's great having someone like that to look up to and be able to talk to about what to expect,” Fisher said. “It was really nice to watch him play, see his progression and the things he does to defeat people on the field.”

Staley, a former tight end, is regarded for his quick feet and athleticism. By comparison, Fisher (6-foot-7, 306 pounds) arrived at Central Michigan with a tight end stature before adding 70 pounds. An all-league performer in basketball in his senior year at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester, Mich., Fisher developed strong footwork on the hardwood.

“I thought being a basketball player in high school was huge,” Fisher said. “There's a lot of similarities between basketball and offensive line as far as lateral movement. I think that really prepared me.”

Fisher impressed scouts with a strong showing at last month's Senior Bowl, often pancaking Texas defensive end Alex Okafor and several others in practice. It helped boost him to No. 6 overall in's latest projection, second among left tackles behind Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.

The Eagles, Lions, Colts, Bears, Giants and Steelers are among teams that could pursue a tackle with an early round pick.

“I'm looking to be the number one tackle,” Fisher said.

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