While mock drafts have consistently projected the Detroit Lions to take a pass-rusher with the fifth overall pick in April's draft, they actually might have other ideas. Despite the fact that the Lions have indeed lost Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, weakening an already-weak ability to get to the quarterback, there are also some pretty big needs on the offensive line. So it makes sense that Detroit met with Eric Fisher on Thursday, one of the top-rated offensive tackles in the draft and a projected top-10 pick.
While the Lions did indeed lose Avril and Vanden Bosch, they also saw starting tackle Gosder Cherilus sign with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency. Detroit picked Cherilus with the 17th overall pick in the 2008 draft and he started 71 games for them. This only leaves 2012 first-round pick Riley Reiff and free-agent signee Corey Hilliard as offensive tackles on the current roster. Reiff is more fit for the right side of the offensive line, while Hilliard has started just five NFL games in six seasons.
All things considered, Fisher might seem to make as much sense any pass rusher in the draft.
Right now the debate among analysts is whether Kansas City will elect to take Fisher or Luke Joeckel with the number one overall pick, meaning that Fisher might not even make it past the first team in April. Whether they do decide to pick one or the other of those tackles, the Lions would also have to hope that the other player manages to get past a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, often seen as another likely landing spot for a franchise left tackle.
Fisher, 6'7, 306 pounds, ran a 5.03 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine with 27 reps on the bench. The standout from Central Michigan was the top performer at his position in the broad jump and the 20-yard short shuttle. Could the Lions be picking an offensive tackle two years in a row?
It's not hard to see.