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Oregon Tackle Jake Fisher Has the Athleticism NFL Teams Covet

Finding top-tier players amongst the thousands of quality athletes who play competitive football is an extremely difficult task. One method NFL front offices and talent evaluators use to filter through the clutter to find standouts is athletic testing. Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher firmly established himself as an athletic freak after he turned in an extremely impressive NFL combine performance.

Offensive tackle is one of the four premier positions in football. On offense, it’s not a stretch to say it is the second-most crucial investment a team could make behind the quarterback. Creating offensive production is much easier in the NFL with a solid pair of tackles.

Finding elite athletes at tackle is something teams put an emphasis on because recovery speed and agility are critical. According to Mockdraftable, here are the average combine weigh-ins by offensive tackles since 1999. Notice the size and short-area burst numbers.

Now that you’ve seen that, let’s look at what offensive tackles must face every down. Below are the average numbers by defensive ends since 1999. This time, the speed and lower-body explosion numbers should pop out.

Just by going off the numbers, tackles are at a great athletic disadvantage to start. Even the best athletes must possess strong technique or else the speedier edge defenders in the NFL will school them. But the top athletes have that extra leeway to help overcome mistakes.

There have been a handful of truly great athletes at tackle to be drafted highly since 2004. Although not all have turned out to be elite players, most have worked their way into a starting position. More importantly, their athleticism is far from the reason they’ve failed. With the exception of New Orleans Saints tackle Terron Armstead, all of the players listed below were taken in the first round of their respective drafts.

The importance of the NFL combine can be debated to an extent, but teams clearly have shown that better athletes have high value because of their ability to “win” in multiple ways. Technique can be learned, but size, speed and bend cannot be significantly improved without major alterations to the body.

Fisher’s case to be a day one starter in the NFL is very strong. He is a former tight end who has terrific movement skills. He started 35 games in college, including 13 at left tackle in 2014.

Yet he was omitted from CBS Sports’

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