<
>
Insider

Mistakes at top of NFL draft

Eric Fisher is a great player, but the value of his position may be declining. ESPN Images

By all accounts, Eric Fisher is going to be a fine NFL player. Maybe even a great one. Scouts agree that he's a sound, steady, athletic technician with upside -- perhaps an even better prospect than offensive tackles Jake Long and Joe Thomas were coming out of college. The problem is Fisher plays a position that, in terms of importance, is in serious decline. But few seem to notice.

After Michael Lewis published "The Blind Side" in 2006, NFL analysts and fans started describing left tackle as the game's second-most important position, behind quarterback. Their reasoning was that the left tackle is the one most responsible for the quarterback's safety. It became chic to trumpet the 300-pounders as unheralded stars. It even became chic to pay them like heralded stars. This seems logical, but it fails to see the big picture of today's NFL. And once you consider this ongoing offensive evolution, it seems rather silly to take an offensive tackle at the top of Round 1.