Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
#DuckBias! Oh wait, this is the Broncos pick, never mind. So what gives? Well before we get to the player chosen, let's take a look at the team doing the choosing.
Denver is currently in a very unique situation as a franchise, standing atop a Rocky Mountain precipice ready to collapse the second their great savior Peyton Manning rides off into the sunset, but still possessing the talent necessary to contend this upcoming season. A situation such as this lends credence to multiple stratagems heading into the 2015 NFL Draft; A choice between looking towards the future and gathering talent at maximum value in order to soften the inevitable descent, or loading up on immediate impact for one last wild ride. At the end of the day every team wants to pick best player available and stock up on a base of talent, but this is exactly the type of situation where production is regarded higher than projection and teams tend to sway from the path of best available, distracted by the seductive hope of immediate impact.
That's where our boy Jake Fisher comes in. There is no immediate need on the Denver Broncos more glaring than the need for impact along the offensive line. They have other holes, other needs, but none flagrant enough to hold a candle to their current offensive line futility. With only the left tackle and right guard spots locked down, by Ryan Clady and Louis Vasquez respectively, the Broncos look to possibly have up to three new starters along the offensive line in 2015. There are internal options of course, but none that preclude any first round offensive lineman from coming in and winning a starting job. Those top internal options also display the necessary versatility to move along the path of least resistance to a starting job; Whichever jobs are left, guys like Michael Schofield (Denver's 2014 3rd rounder) will take.
But why Jake Fisher? Just because he is the top lineman left on the board? No, in fact many would make the case that he should be rated behind other fellow offensive line options still available, such as DJ Humphries and Cameron Erving. The answer is simple, Jake just fits. As my go-to draft guru for all things related to the offensive line puts it,
Gary Kubiak covets a certain type of tackle for his offense and Jake Fisher is that kind of tackle so Denver could be a landing spot for him— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 21, 2015
Kubiak employs a zone-blocking scheme very similar to ours, where athletically gifted lineman with quick feet are coveted, and the ability to get to the second level and make plays is absolutely necessary. There are few players more suited for that in this draft class than Jake Fisher, and certainly none that can claim comparable athleticism in the process.
Fisher has everything you could want from a measurables standpoint: size, agility, explosion, and functional strength. A common criticism of Jake is that he isn't a "bruiser", labeled as a guy who can get pushed around by his opposition, but I disagree. After watching him I see an incredibly strong tackle who just doesn't have that extra mean streak. While he does not impose his physical will onto others with any degree of consistency, he never let's himself be imposed upon either. He consistently manages to maintain ground at the point of attack, showing off his functional strength and winning where it counts, choosing to let his power naturally stonewall opponents as opposed to aggressively forcing the issue from a mentality perspective.
The bottom line is that Jake Fisher is one of the best fits for the Broncos in the entire draft, plays their biggest position of need, has zero off-field concerns, and is polished enough from a technical standpoint to come in and start day one. With all that considered it seems almost too easy to slot the most athletic tackle in the draft to the Denver Broncos with the 28th overall selection.
TJ Clemmings - TJ appears to be one of Denver's favorite prospects, and is another extremely athletic and versatile tackle, albeit more raw technically than Jake. If he's available he will very much be in play.
Eric Kendricks - The other place the Broncos could take a long look at for immediate impact would be at inside linebacker, Kendricks would fit in great and provide another playmaker for that linebacker core.
Cameron Erving - The only other option I seriously considered here. Great talent, fills a need, but I feel as though Denver's internal options are more equipped to handle the interior of the line than any of them are ready to be a right tackle.
Cedric Ogbuehi - The only other tackle in this draft class as good or better than Fisher from an athletic standpoint, but couldn't test due to his torn ACL. It's tough to project where he will go without knowing the medical information teams are finding out right now, but if he's looking healthy or close to it, every team in that late first round area will give him a very long look.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (slickpablovick) - Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - [Explanation]
2) Tennessee Titans (mchiodo) - Leonard Williams, DE, USC - [Explanation]
3) Jacksonville Jaguars ("Snax") - Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, UF - [Explanation]
4) Oakland Raiders (kylebruneault) - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - [Explanation]
5) Washington Redskins (BigTimeTMZ) - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - [Explanation]
6) New York Jets (4thand26) - Kevin White, WR, WVU - [Explanation]
7) Chicago Bears (rohan915) - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson - [Explanation]
8) Atlanta Falcons (GMinTraining) - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington - [Explanation]
9) New York Giants (Grandpapa Joe) - Landon Collins, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
10) St. Louis Rams (deg0ey) - Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa - [Explanation]
11) Minnesota Vikings (ablesser88) - Trae Waynes, CB, MSU - [Explanation]
12) Cleveland Browns (djcunningham) - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville - [Explanation]
13) New Orleans Saints (del.champion) - Shane Ray, DE, Mizzou - [Explanation]
14) Miami Dolphins (drc242) - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU - [Explanation]
15) San Francisco 49ers (SleepingDuck) - Randy Gregory, OLB, NU - [Explanation]
16) Houston Texans (JaviYL) - La'el Collins, OT, LSU - [Explanation]
17) San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Bud Dupree, OLB, UK - [Explanation]
18) Kansas City Chiefs (jimmyrustler) - Andrus Peat, OT, Standford - [Explanation]
19) Cleveland Browns (NowWhat?) - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas - [Explanation]
20) Philadelphia Eagles (sports00fan00) - Jaelen Strong, WR, ASU - [Explanation]
21) Cincinnati Bengals (Zach_The_Gamecock) - T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - [Explanation]
22) Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - [Explanation]
23) Detroit Lions (KamiKazeJEDI) - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - [Explanation]
24) Arizona Cardinals (ItownBallers22) - Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA - [Explanation]
25) Carolina Panthers (AndyMcNabb) - Shaq Thompson, LB, UW - [Explanation]
26) Baltimore Ravens (dceagles) - Byron Jones, CB, UConn - [Explanation]
27) Dallas Cowboys (kamjam) - Kevin Johnson, CB, WFU - [Explanation]
28) Denver Broncos (WubbaLubbaDubDub) - Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon - [Explanation]
29) Indianapolis Colts (ei78) -
30) Green Bay Packers (Nka727) -
31) New Orleans Saints (SwoopThereItIs) -
32) New England Patriots (naderg43) -