KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Fisher is in a good offseason place, finally. He’s no longer last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, something he acknowledged once weighed him down. He’s injury-free.
Also, one of his most recent games as the left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs was one of the best of his career, the kind that can define a career and set it on a different path.
At least that’s what Fisher and the Chiefs hope. Fisher had a big game against Houston’s J.J. Watt in January’s playoff victory over the Texans, though Watt was injured and not at full strength that day.
Still, it was the kind of performance that encourages the Chiefs that Fisher can become something close to the player they envisioned he would be when they drafted him with the first overall pick in 2013. It certainly seems to have sparked Fisher’s confidence.
“I thought it was a real fun game for me,’’ he said Monday as the Chiefs gathered for the start of their offseason conditioning program. “It almost seemed like a little bit of a turning point in my career.”
If the game was a turning point for Fisher, that in the long run could be as important to the Chiefs as the victory itself. If Fisher can lock down the left tackle spot, the Chiefs don’t have to go through an exhaustive and probably expensive search for a replacement.
“I want to [become] that Pro Bowl-caliber player,’’ Fisher said. “That’s quite an accomplishment. Obviously I’d love to do that, make the All-Pro team.
“I see myself on a steady incline. I’m looking to pick up where I left off and continue to grow, just stay on a steady rise throughout my career. If I can do that 10 more years, whatever, however many more years, I’m looking forward to it.’’
Fisher may never be the consistently dominant left tackle that being the No. 1 overall pick suggests he could become. But it’s reasonable to think Fisher could still become the player he’s describing.
He’s only 25. Though he will always carry the burden of being a former No. 1 overall pick, that load will lighten as time goes on.
“Being the No. 1 pick, you’ve got to live up to all of that," Fisher said. "That’s what got to me a little bit my rookie year. I think I’m on the right track now."
Fisher also appears healthy. He had shoulder surgery at the end of his rookie season and he acknowledged that set him back for some time.
“That shoulder surgery is quite a long recovery,’’ Fisher said. “I feel great right now. I feel strong. I don’t feel like anything is holding me back.’’
That being the case, 2016 will be a big season for Fisher.