Rochester Hills, Mich., native Eric Fisher, an offensive tackle from Central Michigan, was selected Thursday night by the Kansas City Chiefs with the first pick overall in the NFL Draft.
He is only the fourth tackle to be selected No. 1, joining former Michigan Wolverine standout Jake Long (2008), Orlando Pace (1997) and Ron Yary (1968).
Fisher emerged as the top candidate after a standout performance at the Senior Bowl in January when he proved to many NFL scouts that playing against lesser competition in the Mid-American Conference shouldn’t be held against him.
No player in MAC history has ever been drafted No. 1. The previous highest pick was Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, who went No. 7 to Jacksonville in 2003. The only other Central Michigan player selected in the first round was offensive tackle Joe Staley, who went No. 28 to San Francisco in 2007.
Fisher had only two scholarship offers — Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan — when he came out of Rochester Hills Stoney Creek High as an undersized lineman in 2009.
He’s now 6-feet-7, 306 pounds and was taken ahead of Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, who had been projected as the top offensive tackle before Fisher started closing the gap at the Senior Bowl and then at the Scouting Combine in February.
“It’s a dream come true, something I’ve been working for for a long time,” Fisher said in an interview with the NFL Network. “I can’t believe it. I’m so proud of myself for going through this process. I’ve had so much support.”
As for coming from a smaller conference like the MAC, Fisher said, “We can hang with anybody.”