COLUMN: Take a chance, Kansas City

Over spring break, I had the good fortune to take a trip to New York City for a journalism conference.

While in the Big Apple, I walked by and took pictures of Radio City Music Hall, the place where the NFL Draft is held every year. As I passed, I repeated the famous lines I've heard numerous times by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"With the first pick of the (year) NFL Draft, the (team name) select (player name), (position), (college)!"

Insert 2013, Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Fisher, offensive tackle and Central Michigan University.

Months ago, after Fisher came on to the scene with an outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl, I thought "what if Fisher goes No. 1, how crazy would that be?"

Then, at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, he tested better than fellow offensive tackle and projected No. 1 overall pick Luke Joeckel of Texas A & M, which made me think; "wow, this could really happen. CMU could have the No. 1 overall pick."

Now, multiple sports news outlets, including NFL Network, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, have projected Fisher No. 1 overall.

But, there are still many analysts picking Joeckel over Fisher, simply because Fisher attended CMU, while Joeckel went to Texas A & M, a school in the powerful Southeastern Conference.

This baffles me: an analyst can say Fisher tested better and has more potential, but won't get picked first.

Yes, the SEC is much stronger than the Mid-American Conference, but doesn't make the MAC weak.

The MAC is coming off of its strongest season yet, with seven bowl bids, including a trip to the BCS Orange Bowl for Northern Illinois.

The MAC also has a strong history of NFL players: Jason Taylor of Akron, Antonio Gates and James Harrison of Kent State, Victor Cruz of UMass, Ben Roethlisburger of Miami, Michael Turner of NIU, and Greg Jennings and Jason Babin of WMU, to name a few.

That doesn't include players from Central Michigan University: Joe Staley, Antonio Brown and Cullen Jenkins: all Pro-Bowlers, all Chippewas.

It seems like when MAC players are taken in the first round, they pan out.

Why not take a chance on Fisher?

He has proven in every way he can compete, regardless if he goes first to the Chiefs, second the Jaguars, or plummets down the draft board, he is going to be playing the same guys.

Given a blind test, Fisher has the most potential and the better test numbers. Also, analysts have said, when watching film of him against BCS teams like Michigan State and Iowa, he was perfect.

To me, it's a no-brainer.

With the first pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Fisher, offensive tackle, Central Michigan University.


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