Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher both prospects for Detroit Lions at No. 5

Posted Feb 21, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eric Fisher and Luke Joekel are both vying to be the No. 1 tackle chosen in April's NFL Draft. Naturally, there's a little bit of a rivalry that's developed between the two for that very fact.

"My goal here is to prove that I'm the No. 1 tackle in the nation," Fisher said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "It's been my goal for a long time. I knew I had to put in a lot of hard work to get there but that's my ultimate goal after this is all said and done."

Joeckel couldn't agree more.

"I'm definitely coming in wanting to be the first tackle taken in the draft," he said. "I know it's a long process until then, but I'm trying to do every single thing right to make sure that happens.

"It's a competition between (Fisher) and the other guys like Lane Johnson (Oklahoma). It's a competition between all of us and that's one of the fun parts about the Combine, going against some of the best athletes in the country at your position."

Fisher is the bigger of the two left tackle prospects, measuring a little over 6-foot-7, 306 pounds to Joeckel's 6-foot-6, 306-pound frame.

Joeckel is probably the more polished of the two, even being a year younger, because of the better competition he faced at Texas A&M is both the Big 12 and SEC.

Luke Joeckel"SEC defensive lines are stout," Joeckel said. "They're some of the best defensive lines in the country and going from the Big 12 to the SEC you can definitely see a difference. You can see a difference on film. You can definitely see a difference playing against it. I think it's a great stepping stone."

Fisher says he still has a bit of a chip on his shoulder coming from a smaller school like Central Michigan, where he feels like he's constantly had to prove himself.

"I thought the Senior Bowl was absolutely huge for me," Fisher said of his week at the college All-Star game in Mobile last month.

"I knew what I had to do to impress a lot of people and cancel all the doubt in people's minds. I went down there with a little chip on my shoulder to prove to a lot of people who Eric Fisher is and what he's made of."

Fisher was the most impressive player at the Combine over that week of practices and considerably closed the gap in some scouts' and analysts' minds between he and Joeckel.

The Lions are prime candidates to land either young tackle with the No. 5-overall pick, depending how the first four selections shake out.

With left tackle Jeff Backus entering his 13th season and right tackle Gosder Cherilus about to enter free agency, serious consideration would have to be given if either Joeckel or Fisher was still on the board when the Lions were on the clock – even with Riley Reiff and Jason Fox waiting in the wings.

Bringing in either player would allow the Lions a lot of versatility upfront. They could potentially move Reiff to right guard and start Fox at right tackle, to name a couple options.

"He was impressive in his college film," Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Fisher. "He was impressive in weigh-ins down (at the Senior Bowl) a little while ago. He's a big guy; looks like he's going to fit the bill for being an offensive lineman in the NFL.

"But we've still got a long way to go before draft and things like that."