Thoughts on Oregon’s Jake Fisher and his fit in Seattle

Jake Fisher stole the show at the combine today

If you missed today’s combine live blog, you can recap the day here. It includes workout notes, winners & losers, measurements, breaking news and a lot more

There were several key performers today but nobody had a better athletic performance than Oregon’s Jake Fisher. His 7.25 in the 3-cone and 4.33 in the short shuttle were top-five for OT’s over the last decade. He ran an official 5.01 in the forty yard dash with a 1.75 ten yard split and posted a 32.5 in the vertical jump.

Nobody came close to that kind of performance this year. It brought back memories of Joel Bitonio twelve months ago and Kyle Long in 2013. Both players went in the top-40 of their subsequent drafts. Fisher might be on the fast track to a similar result this April.

I’ve spent the last hour digging through some Oregon TV tape to have another look at him. Here’s some thoughts before we get into his potential fit in Seattle…

He doesn’t jump off the screen like Bitonio, but then it’s easy to forget just how accomplished Bitonio looked at Nevada. Against top-tier opponents in 2013, he excelled (National Champions Florida State, Anthony Barr and co at UCLA). He mirrored well in pass protection, drove people off the ball in the running game, loved to get to the second level and played with a constant edge. I recall one play against Fresno State where he dumped a linebacker on his backside. He finished plays every game.

I guess you’d call Fisher more ‘finesse’, but that’s really just a kind way of saying he doesn’t play with the same level of intensity. He’ll do his job on each given play to a reasonable level. But he rarely goes above and beyond — rushing to the second level, finishing a block with a little extra spice or driving someone out of a play after the whistle. He’s very grabby and gets a ton of flags (six for holding in 2014 alone). You don’t see the same kind of raw attitude. He’s a converted tight end and plays up to that.

One thing he does really well is recover. In the National Championship against Ohio State there were at least two occasions where he got beat on an inside move in the run game. He had a nice counter — pushing the defensive end into the pile and creating a new crease off the edge. In one particular play it created a huge lane for the running back. You can’t expect him to dominate every snap so it’s good that he’s alert and intelligent enough to counter-attack.

He’s an effortless lateral mover — that’s no surprise given what he achieved at the combine today. He’ll be able to cope with speed. There’s very little tightness in his hips and that’ll bode well if a team decides to keep him at tackle (more on that later).

Sadly, though, he is not a great run blocker. Not yet, anyway. He lacks punch and very rarely pushes people off the LOS. He can hold position nicely, but you don’t see those ‘wow’ blocks where the defensive lineman just gets jolted back. His footwork, while good when he tries to set in pass protection, is inconsistent in the running game. He needs to keep moving and work the defender, using his speed and size as an advantage. Too often when he initiates contact he stops and tries to win purely with upper-body power and this is where he struggles. He should get better here over time, but for now it is what it is. He must continue to get stronger.

Both Bitonio and Long showed more snap on tape. For that reason it might be worth pumping the breaks on his sky-rocketing stock. Yet the fact is — there just isn’t anyone with his level of athletic upside available at offensive tackle this year. There’s no Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan. No Bitonio sitting there in round two. We’ve talked about this a lot — the top college athletes are gravitating towards defense. It’s been happening for a while. And it’s putting a premium on athletic offensive linemen who can match-up at the next level. It’s why Eric Fisher jumped Luke Joeckel as the first pick in 2013 — and it’s why Lane Johnson went in the top five.

There’s a big market for players like Jake Fisher in the league, however much work they require. A top-40 grade feels right today, but you’d still expect several other offensive linemen to leave the board first (including Andrus Peat, T.J. Clemmings, La’el Collins, Brandon Scherff and the blossoming D.J. Humphries).

So what about his fit in Seattle?

Some people believe a long-term plan is required on the offensive line, essentially to prepare for life after Russell Okung. I’m not one of those people. For me, Okung is a core guy on the offense. I don’t think he’s in the top echelon of NFL left tackles, but he’s probably in the next tier. It’s incredibly difficult to find even a solid starting left tackle and they usually cost a top-ten pick. The Seahawks have their guy and depending on what they do in free agency, they should work to extend his contract which expires after the 2015 season.

Of course, this all depends on what happens in free agency. If the Seahawks make an improbable move for Ndamukong Suh, they’re going to have to make savings somewhere. Signing Suh is attractive but still only a dream at this point. I’d expect Seattle to be active in free agency — probably to add a veteran receiver or tight end and maybe some depth to the defensive line — without spending mega-money.

There’s a theory that Okung is too banged up — and he has missed games. A bit of context is required though. Okung has never missed a full season or even most of a season. His most injury hit campaign was 2013 when he played eight regular season games. It’s easy to forget how poorly the O-line played in his absence with Paul McQuistan and Michael Bowie at tackle. He returned late in the season to help the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl. He was needed.

In 2014 he missed two games. In 2012 he missed one game. Bobby Wagner has missed seven games in the last two seasons. Players are going to get injured. Had Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas picked up their late-season injuries earlier, they probably go on I.R. in 2014. Okung has a tendency to get banged up, but it’s more a case of frustrating niggling injuries instead of anything career threatening. This is part of the game and for me, it’s overstated when people talk about Okung. Especially when you consider every member of Seattle’s starting offensive line has missed time in the last two seasons.

The idea you could draft a tackle at #31 and use that player to replace Okung down the line is slightly fanciful for me looking at this crop of players. None get close to the kind of quality Okung showed entering the league. You’d be banking on serious development at the next level. I’d rather look into a Jared Veldheer type extension for Okung like Davis Hsu has suggested — he penned a 5-year, $35m deal with the Cardinals.

Of course it’s not just about potentially replacing Okung. James Carpenter is a free agent and might not be retained, creating a hole at left guard. I’m not convinced Alvin Bailey will simply step in to replace Carpenter. Even if he does, they need to add depth to the offensive line.

You could draft Fisher and move him to left guard. The switch to guard worked well for Kyle Long. You could put Fisher at right tackle and move Justin Britt inside. Would either move appeal?

Firstly, Fisher is a very different player to both Carpenter and Bailey. I’m not sure if Seattle is totally focused on massive size and length at left guard, but that’s what the current incumbents provide. Carpenter is 6-5 and 321lbs. Bailey is 6-3 and listed at 320lbs (but looks bigger). I quite like the size they bring even if performances have been inconsistent. Long is 6-6 and had to work to get to 306lbs for the combine. Run blocking, as discussed above, is not his calling card. The Seahawks do run a zone blocking scheme at heart, but they’ve also used players like Okung, Carpenter, Bailey and Giacomini to offer some power/size and grit. I suspect they’d like to retain that edge. With Fisher, Sweezy and Britt all starting on the line — there’s a real danger they’d get over-matched against tougher opponents (eg Arizona).

The Seahawks want to run the ball as their identity — I’m not sure getting lighter at guard will aid that cause.

Would you move Britt inside? Possibly. He had a mixed first year at tackle and has similar size to Carpenter (6-6, 325lbs). He also has short arms and might even suit the switch. The Seahawks like their guards to have tackle experience. It makes some sense. It would also mean two high picks at right tackle (Carpenter, Britt) who lasted a year before needing to move inside. If Fisher is also better suited to guard, are you going for the hat-trick? How many high picks do you want to spend trying to solve a position (RT) that most teams fill without the big price tag?

I wonder whether Fisher’s best role at the next level might be at right guard — just like Kyle Long and Seattle’s own J.R. Sweezy. He’s smart enough to play the position and teams seem to like extra mobility in that area. Of course, the Seahawks already have a long term starter there (and J.R. Sweezy is almost assured of a contract extension considering how much Pete Carroll gushes about his performances).

Ultimately I think it comes down to this — how much of an upgrade are you getting swapping Carpenter for Fisher (if any), versus swapping him for someone like Terry Poole who also enjoyed a good combine workout? Tony Pauline reported at the Senior Bowl that Seattle has interest in Poole. He also has tackle experience. He has similar size to Fisher (shade under 6-5, 307lbs, 33 1/4 inch arms) and also tested well (1.79 split, 5.09 forty, 31 inch vertical, 7.90 3 cone and 4.66 short shuttle). Poole could be had in the mid-to-late rounds but if you want Fisher, it might be #31 or bust.

There could be other options in the late first round based on today’s workouts. Ereck Flowers performed poorly in drills but he’s a terrific drive blocker who plays with an edge. On tape you really see him finish blocks — in one game he drove a right end to the left sideline and played beyond the whistle. He gets a nice push at the LOS in the run game. He has experience playing both tackle spots, he has size (6-6, 324lbs) and enough foot speed to evolve into a ZBS tackle or guard.

Today’s sluggish display could cost Flowers a place in the top-25, but is he be an alternative choice to someone like Fisher? He has 34 and a half inch arms. His official 5.31 forty time isn’t great, but it’s better than Ju’Wuan James’ last year (5.34) and he looked the part of an established NFL tackle in 2014.

Cameron Erving is also an intriguing option. He’s versatile enough to play guard, center or right tackle. The NFL Network pundits repeatedly compared his physical skill set to Eric Wood — which is no bad thing. He ran well — posting a 5.15 at 6-5 and 313lbs. He has 34 and 1/8 inch arms. He’s a work in progress as a converted defensive lineman who only kicked inside last season after starting at left tackle. He’ll be a tremendous project for the offensive line coach who gets to work with him at the next level.

And then there’s La’el Collins, who had a really good day today. He looked good in the Senior Bowl game, if not during the daily workouts. I’ve flip-flopped on Collins, originally seeing him as a top-five prospect in this class, then feeling he would be better at guard and more of a top-15 selection as a consequence. The all-22 tape against Alabama exposed some flaws (lack of push off the line, tendency to lunge) and suggested he simply had to move inside. But then you see this workout and can’t help but be impressed. He looked superb carrying very little bad weight. He moved around in the drills with a lot of grace for his size. He ran a nice 5.12 at 6-4 and 305lbs. I think he’ll go in the top-25.

Don’t sleep on Rob Crisp by the way — a player we highlighted during the college season. Nobody dealt with Vic Beasley better than NC State’s Crisp last year. He’s 6-6 and 5/8th’s, 301lbs, has 34 and a half inch arms and had an impressive 32.5 inch vertical jump plus a good 4.60 in the short shuttle.

Players like Crisp and Poole offer some depth to this class, not to mention other performers today like Mitch Morse, Ali Marpet, Takoby Cofield, Jamil Douglas, Donovan Smith and Jeremiah Poutasi. There is real depth on the OL to go with the options at WR, RB and DL. Seattle can afford to let Tom Cable keep adding his guys, even if Fisher’s performance today warrants greater attention moving forward. On the other hand, the #31 pick has the potential to be a bit of a sweet spot for offensive linemen.


  1. Ed


    At least you have the best distraction around Rob. 1 day closer to next year. You know I’m always preaching the OL route. Okung/Unger/Sweezy all done contract wise in the next 2 years. But I’m getting closer to filling those needs in the 2nd/4th rds. A guy that can replace Carpenter and a guy that can learn and replace maybe Okung or Unger if/when they move on. I’m down to 2 positions in the 1st round. WR and CB.

    I’m not as sold needing a big guy, just needing a difference maker. We need that all around talent Harvin gave us (Bevell just needs to do a better job of utilizing it in the scheme). A Coates would be good, but someone like Dorsett/Agholor might help us in return game as well.

    If we had the ability to trade back, is it possible to get Collins and Agholor in the 2nd?

    Thoughts on Kearse, would you put a 4th on him and let him go? I would. As for Lockett, he was an assassin on special teams early, but seemed he lost his love for it towards the end of the season. Do you see him back?

    Could we see Baldwin/FA (Jackson?)/Matthews/Agholor as our top 4 to start the season?

    • Rob Staton

      Which Collins? I can’t see Jalen, La’el or Landon lasting to round two.

      As for Kearse, I don’t think they can afford to lose any receivers. They need to add to the group.

  2. CharlieTheUnicorn

    There were 3 OL that impressed at combined. 2 of which fit a ZBS according to … Fisher and Marpet. Both had very solid showings. The other guy that might not fit Seattle, but turned some heads was the Utah product Poustasi. He is already drawing Iupati comparisons, which is not a bad thing.

  3. Trevor

    First time posting

    Because of injuries the last couple of years there has very little continuity. They go into this offseason very healthy. What are your thoughts on this plan for OL

    -Sign Carp for 2-3 years @2-2.5 mill per year. I think he will have limited FA options
    -5th Round Draft Poole
    -6th Round Draft Crisp

    We would have same starting OL with full off season together which could really help Britt in particular. Bailey, Gillam, Lewis, Poole and Crisp as Depth.


    • Rob Staton

      I like this plan Trevor.

      • CC

        Me too!

    • Ted

      I like the plan too, but I really don’t think we’ll get Carp that cheap. Even though he hasn’t played up to his 1st round draft status, that’s too cheap for him. More likely he’s around $4M a year.

      • Jon

        I agree with that Price tag. That puts him around #11 or #12 paid LG. I think Sweezey gets around 4.25-4.5 which is good for about #7 or #8 at RG.

        BTW I have been constantly working on cap management the last couple of days.
        Playing with numbers and running with the idea of waiting to re-up Wilson until next year at 8yrs 150m (Davis Hsu has suggested we could get down in the 19 m per year range if we fully guarantee.)

        If we loose Carp and Maxwell, as well as cutting Miller and McDaniel we could play numbers and sign:

        Wagner to a a 4 yr 36 m extension
        Lynch to a 2 year 18 m extension
        Sweezey to a 4 year 17 m extension
        Okung to a 4 year 28 m extension
        RFA Kearse at 2.3 m

        Sign J. Cameron or J Thomas (if we could get them for less than 7 m per year
        Sign Suh to 7 years 92 m (Gerald McCoy money. Suh is already 28 and may not get the 100m he wants)
        And trade for B. Marshal and take his cap hits of 7.7, 8.1 and 8.5 over the next three yrs.

        This still leaves money for Wilsons contract to start in 2016 (his number under my model would not exceed 20 m until 2022.
        Also able to re-up Irvin (which would not be done until 2017 as we 5th year option him in 2016 at 7.6 m

        2015 We can do all this and end at 142 m spent cap (including Harvins dead$ in 2015). The Cap is pretty likely 143 m and we have 4 m carry over from last year. This leaves the 5 m suggested cushion for IR.
        2016 We would have 146 m in cap already claimed including Wilson and 49 total contracts included (No extensions would be required except John Ryan, and Mebane if we do him) Ability to continue with everyone would depend on the salary cap in 2016.

        What do you all think:)

        • Jon

          Correction on the 2016 year. Would be 52 players under contract and 145 m.

        • Trevor

          Sounds good to me! If they could pull that off I think the odds of several more SB appearances are high. I think we have a 3-4 year window here with our core of young stars. The idea of Russel taking a fully guaranteed contract at a lower average value really helps with the cap and makes sense for everyone the more I think about it.

        • Ted

          Couple things to think about.

          Remember that most contracts are more about guaranteed money than contract value. Usually end up being 2 year contracts with options to get out after the 2nd year. What type of guaranteed money are you thinking on those contracts?

          Sweezy is going to get more than you have him budgeted for. He may struggle in pass pro yet, but he’s a fantastic run blocker and super athletic. The team loves him. He’s going to get top 5 RG money for sure.

          I don’t trust Cameron with the concussion issues and I also don’t believe Julius is going to take less than $7M per. I would love that if it was the case though.

          Finally, I don’t think SEA is going to trade for another WR with known locker room problems. They should have learned their lesson from the Harvin deal. I expect them to draft 2 WRs, one speed guy to take Walters place at WR/KR/PR, and a big target to challenge Matthews. I also think they’ll look for a veteran WR if one becomes available at a reasonable price.

          Suh I would be absolutely happy with, on the other hand. Sorry to poke so many holes in your comment, just making my own observations!

          • Jon

            I gave
            Wagner a 10 m signing bonus 20 of 36 gteed
            Suh 15 m sign (basically 52 m over the 4 real years of the contract in my eyes)
            Sweezey would be a top 10 payed RG at 4.2/y (I think that is fair, maybe up to 4.5 for me)

            As for Cameron and Thomas I mostly agree with you (I just use 7m as the top contract we could afford without causing problems.
            Marshal was more about proving the point to myself that the Seahawks could legitimately do some real damage this year (especially if they do something like a fully gteed contract with Wilson that does not come into motion until 2016) and it would not haunt us in 2016 or beyond.

    • Ho Lee Chit

      If you are going to commit to Carpenter then we probably will lose Alvin Bailey next year. That leaves us with no backup at LT. I would draft D J Humphries to develop and backup the LT position and Donovan Smith to be the backup at LG.

      • Rob Staton

        Humphries likely to be gone I think.

        • Volume 12

          Not sold on Penn St’s Donovan Smith, or Miami’s Ereck Flowers.

  4. drewjov11

    What about the actual mike Iupati? How much would he cost? Negate the 3 million that carpenter makes. He’s definitely an upgrade and someone who can clear a path for the running game.

    • Rob Staton

      Reports over the last couple of days suggest Iupati will get paid. His play really dropped off the last two years. I’d have minimal interest here.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        Reports were he could be in the 6-8 million per year range, too rich for Seattle. As Rob mentioned, he has not been as dominant as he was 2-3 years ago.

        • Radman

          Someone will really hate that signing.

  5. Trevor

    I had Flowers as my top Tackle prospect and thought he looked great on tape. He has perfect size and length but seemed to struggle today and his #s were not great. Any chance he now falls into Seattle’s range. I thought he and the tackle out of Stanford were the two potential LT starters in the draft but after today not sure about either.

    What are your thoughts on Flowers? If Jalen Collins, Eli Harold, Gurley and DGB my top 4 potential picks at the end of round 1 are gone would Seattle consider OL in round #1? As I mentioned earlier I don’t view it as a major need as most do but based on his tape he might be a steal at 31.

    • Rob Staton

      I think there’s every chance he’s there at #31 after today. I think Seattle would consider OL in round one depending on what they do in FA.

  6. Trevor

    Thought Fisher looked good today but on tape does not look like a Cable lineman to me. I don’t see the playing through the whistle he preaches and JS says they look for.

    • Volume 12

      I agree, I like Jake Fisher and wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the Kyle Long range due to his athleticism, but there’s much better value in the 3-4 rounds, just like the WR position,

  7. Ross

    I have no idea why anyone would want to move on from Russell Okung. He might not be the most durable player in the league, but he’s on the field more often than not and he’s one of the best tackles in the league when he escapes those niggling injuries for a while. The thing I like most is his price, which is relatively low for his position relative to his ability. He could probably be resigned after 2016 for the same money, or just a little more.

    • Trevor

      I agree and he will be healthy this off season. I think we will see pro bowl level play out of him in a contract year. Then I am not sure we will be able to afford him unfortunately if he hits the open market. I think he should be a mid season extension candidate if he can stay healthy.

      • Ross

        The thing is, he’s already paid quite highly.

        Maybe suggesting his price is low is the wrong way to phrase it. Okung has been paid an average of $8 million a year since he was drafted in 2010, good for just outside the top ten among left tackles. Since his cap hit has been consistently high for so long and he’s earning just about what he deserves, all the front office has to do is find a couple of milllion more in cap space and Okung would be in the top five among left tackles. They don’t have to scramble for money or take a huge raise into consideration in their future plans. Okung gets respect, the and the cap space doesn’t take a significant hit.

    • rowdy

      People on here seem to be split on him but would hate to see it happen. It’s a real possibility with his contract up next year so I would like to see a replacement groomed just in case. Not a high pick just a player capable of playing LT.

      • Radman

        I worry that his injuries to the lower body have reduced his elite status. Big men getting ankle injuries doesn’t bode well for him as he enters his later 20’s.

        I think his elite days are behind him. Rob’s point that he’s a second tier LT is probably accurate.

  8. Roland jose

    Seems like a lot of these tackles are better fits inside, let’s get an athletic tightend, who blocks well and turn him into a tackle. It’s good to have them cause they can go outside in a pinch if there is an injury.

    • Ross

      Garry Gilliam is basically that but with an extra year’s experience playing tackle in college.

      If you want a developmental project, look no further than Garrett Scott, who was on the reserve list for a heart problem. Highest SPARQ rating in last year’s draft.

  9. RealRhino2

    Expect Maxwell to be gone. In your opinion, which of the CBs likely to be available at #31 are the most ready to step in and play immediately?

    • Cysco

      Rob is the conductor of the Jalen Collins train and I’ve punched my ticket for that ride too. If he’s there,(which is probably a serious long shot) he’d be ideal.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t like any of the options that are realistic at #31 unless Marcus Peters sticks around. I fully expect Jalen Collins to be long gone.

  10. drewjov11

    The corner from Miami shows some raw ability and versatility. He could possibly drop to round three or four. Special teams. Safety and corner. He could develop and earn his time.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      If Seattle ends up with 3 picks in the 4th round via comp/trade/there own…. CB or S has to be a consideration with that much draft ammo at their disposal.

      • peter

        Gunter, Swann, Rowe later but if Jalen Collins gets to 31 I say run don’t walk to the podium and turn yor card in for him. The Seahawks basically messed up their ability to take seahawky corners late by simply being the Seahawks. I honestly think Collins then maybe Peters could start day one with one of the three listed taking over Lanes spot.

  11. Reece

    Bitonio should have been drafted by Seahawks last year. Another year of busts and Hawks will be running out of depth. Not looking good from here. Bevell split the lockeroom and should of been canned. 9-7 next year.

    • Rob Staton

      Bevell didn’t split the locker room. And if by chance there is a split, the players need to grow up.

  12. CD

    Hawks have to be careful on how many FA they pick up, they don’t want to lose the possible Maxwell 3rd round comp, by picking up some 3rd string TE FA.

    • Rob Staton

      A third round comp pick is nice, but you don’t let that dictate to you in FA. This is about winning on the field after all, not accumulating high picks.

  13. Don Gato

    It’s time to 86 James Carpenter! (bust)

    I will NEVER forget the look on Saban’s face when he was chosen… priceless.

    I don’t even want to name off the stud OL guys that were drafted right after him..sigh

    • Rob Staton

      I’ll name them for you — Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod. Both cut by the teams that drafted them.

      There were some nice defensive options they passed on though — including Jimmy Smith, Jabaal Sheard and Mo Wilkerson. But the Carpenter pick served a purpose at the time and considering some of the other busts in the late first that year, I have a hard time describing JC as a bad pick.

  14. Volume 12

    I agree with 1st time poster Trevor. Give me Terry Poole and NC St’s Rob Crisp. I absolutely love SD St’s Terry Poole. This dude could hang with the big boys from day 1.

    Also really like Utah’s Jeremiah Poutasi, Florida’s Chaz Greene, and Mizzou’s Mitch Morse.

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