Big Shoes to Fill for Fisher

Andy Reid & Eric Fisher

During the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Owners meetings in Orlando this week, Kansas City Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid, sat down and answered quite a few questions during a Q&A session with the media.

Reid covered a wide variety of topics, but the biggest news coming out of the Q&A was that the Chiefs 2013 first overall draft selection, Eric Fisher, will be Kansas City's starting left tackle next season.

After posting stellar numbers at the 2013 NFL Combine in Indy, Fisher rose up many draft boards and eventually positioned himself to be taken ahead of another talented tackle, Luke Joeckel, to become the first overall pick of the 2013 draft to the Kansas City Chiefs.

With the high expectations of being the first overall pick in the draft, most would consider Fisher's rookie season to be somewhat of a letdown. The injury bug definitely had something to do with some of Fisher's inconsistencies, as it bit him hard in 2013. Fisher took on injuries to his fingers, back, knee, groin, shoulder, and even had to deal with a concussion during his rookie campaign. Another reason for his lack of productivity could be due to the fact that he was in fact learning a new position.

Fisher spent his entire career at Central Michigan playing left tackle, as opposed to the right tackle position he was forced to learn last season with Kansas City. However, now it sounds like Fisher will be starting off year number two in the league, at his natural position of left tackle.

When asked where Eric Fisher is going next season Reid responded, "Right now, I think I'm going to move him to the left side. That's where he played in college, although Donald Stephenson played there for me and I know he can do that too, but I think I'm going to start off with Eric at left and keep Donald at right and then we roll."

Chiefs Pro Bowl starting left tackle last year, Brandon Albert, recently signed a huge five-year $47 million dollar contract with the Miami Dolphins during free agency. Despite losing Albert, Reid had nothing but kind things to say about the former first round pick, stating, "An all-pro player, a great person. (They're getting) somebody who's good in the run and pass game and a good teammate."

Albert leaves big shoes to fill, as he's been the anchor of the Chiefs offensive line for the past few years. This means that John Dorsey, Andy Reid, and the Chiefs are truly putting a lot of faith into the young 23-year old Eric Fisher.

A major key to Fisher's success next season will obviously be staying healthy, but maybe more importantly, putting some size onto his 6'8" 305 lb frame. Fisher, at time's last season, appeared to just get over-powered and out-muscled at times by bigger, stronger, and more experienced defensive lineman. If Fisher is able to get stronger in the off-season, there's a much better chance of seeing him succeed in 2014, especially at his natural position.

As for the right tackle spot that opened up with Fisher's switch to the left side, there will be a lot of pressure on another young Chiefs lineman to step up and fill a void. Donald Stephenson was taken in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Chiefs and has been a nice source of depth for the Chiefs offensive line these past two seasons.

Stephenson started seven games each of the last two seasons. Last season, he stepped up and filled in nicely when Brandon Albert went down at the left tackle position. Stephenson played left tackle during his collegiate years at Oklahoma, so there is some concern about him moving over to the right side. Can Stephenson be as consistent on the right side as he showed a year ago playing a solid left tackle for Kansas City?

Altogether, Head Coach Andy Reid and Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson, have a lot riding this season on a young, but talented offensive line. The Chiefs also lost guard, Geoff Schwartz, to the New York Giants in free agency and fellow guard Jon Asamoah to the Atlanta Falcons.

Adding Albert again to the list of departures and that's three huge losses up front for the Chiefs. Jeff Linkenbach, a former Colts guard, was signed by Kansas City to help up front, but the Chiefs still need to add some depth, whether it be through free agency or the 2014 NFL Draft.

John Dorsey and Andy Reid put all their faith into Eric Fisher by selecting him first overall in the 2013 NFL draft. Now it's time for Fisher to show what he is truly worth, and start living to the potential that goes with being the top overall pick last year.


WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Fisher fill Albert's cleats in 2014?


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