It was a bit of a surprise last year when the Lions drafted offensive tackle Riley Reiff with the 13th overall pick.
While defense certainly has to be a priority in the draft for Detroit this April, it’s possible they could draft another offensive tackle in the first round.
Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher (in photo) is projected as a top 10 pick and the second-best offensive to Luke Joeckel from Texas A-M. Fisher, who played at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, should be available to the Lions with their fifth overall pick.
“From my perspective, when I put (Fisher’s) first tape on and was able to see him all week at the Senior Bowl, the first thing I thought of was Joe Staley, and I thought he's better than Joe Staley, which says a lot,’’ NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said in a conference call this week.
“At the Senior Bowl, I thought he answered every question. I thought he showed a little more upper body strength than I thought he had. He had great feet. He's long. I think he's that prototype left tackle, and I don't think there is as much difference between him and Joeckel as a lot of people think,’’ Mayock added.
Mayock is not alone in his assessment of Fisher. ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper has Fisher (6-foot-7, 306 pounds) ranked seventh on his big board and also as the second best offensive tackle behind Joeckel who he ranks as the second best overall player available in the draft.
“I think for me, they're both top 10 picks in this draft,’’ Mayock said. “So I think this kid (Fisher) two or three years from now is one of the better ones. They're more like Joe Thomas. They can be a technician and a real good pass defender. Not as big a run guy. Just the prototypical left tackle pass defender. He's solid. He's a really good football player and got better and better as the Senior Bowl went on.’’
The Lions have some questions on the offensive line. Left tackle Jeff Backus will be entering his 13th season and right tackle Gosder Cherilus will be a free agent. Right guard Stephen Peterman was cut.
Riley Reiff, entering his second season, is ready for prime time. Three other offensive linemen on the roster could compete for starts — Bill Nagy, Jason Fox and Rodney Austin.