This year, I'm going to do my set of 10 players that I believe would be great fit for the Patriots in the 2015 draft. I will highlight a player's combine numbers, post some breakdown videos for you to watch, and explain how that player would fit the Patriots in both the short and long term. I would also like to receive your feedback in the comments section to see if making a series of posts just like this is a good idea moving forward.
Starting off with #10, I bring you Oregon Left Tackle Jake Fisher.
Arm: 33 3/4"
Vertical: 32 1/2"
Broad Jump: DNP
Rose Bowl vs. Florida State (2015)
Rivalry Game vs. Oregon State (2013)
How Does He Fit With the Patriots? Jake Fisher is a bit raw as a left tackle prospect as some of his contemporaries, but there is a lot to like long term. For the 2015 season, he would be insurance in case Nate Solder departs in free agency at the end of the year. In the event that Solder is re-signed/extended, Fisher could be a player NE develops as either a right tackle or left guard. On the other side of the line, Sebastian Vollmer will be 31 when camp opens and with his age comes concern for injuries and managing snap counts. Marcus Cannon is already on the roster as the backup tackle, but doesn't have the ability to play left tackle at the NFL level for extended periods. With Tom Brady entering his late 30s and the Patriots inability to run the ball against teams not named the Indianapolis Colts in the postseason, an upgrade on the offensive line is needed. Fisher had a good tape against Florida State and Ohio State, although he didn't play across from any players more talented than him in those two games. Fisher also had an excellent performance at the combine, taking top marks in almost every measured drill and looked very fluid in positional drills.
Grade: Early 2nd round
Bottom Line: Fisher is a player New England can stash for a year and improve his technique while Solder and Vollmer take the primary snaps at the two tackle positions. Fisher displays great athleticism (former Tight End), a trait which is needed for left tackle prospects. While I believe Nate Solder has more upside than Fisher, Solder's contract expires after 2015. With Solder's cap hit north of $7M, I could see him and the Patriots negotiating an extension during this offseason. If that occurs, there is no need to draft a tackle this year (next year is a much different case). In the NFL, the left tackle is almost like the QB position. The worst time to be looking for one is when you absolutely need one. Like in 2011, the Patriots need to have a ready replacement at left tackle in case there is a need for it. Patriots could either pick him at #32 or try to trade down a few spots and get Fisher and pick up a Day 3 pick in the process.