football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Paddy Fisher

  • The Draft Network
  • January 10, 2021
  • Share


Paddy Fisher first appeared on the scene at Northwestern as a promising young prospect whose play was beyond his years of experience back in 2017. But as time has passed, Fisher’s perception has evolved but his profile has not—he in many ways feels like the same player and may be pressed against the ceiling of what he can be as a football player. Fisher in an older era of football would have had plenty of value to teams, but the day and age of big, physical, run stuffers are on the outs. FIsher can still command space on a roster to serve a niche role, but expectations of a high-level player or starter feel optimistic. Fisher is a blue-collar player and a well-regarded leader—he’s also an intelligent communicator in the pre-snap. But all of those variables only mask the tackling inconsistencies and lack of range so much. 

Ideal Role: Downhill plug ILB on run downs.

Scheme Fit: Odd front base defense.


Written by Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Stanford (2019), Michigan State (2019), Wisconsin (2020), Ohio State (2020), Auburn (2020)

Best Game Studied: Wisconsin (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Ohio State (2020)

Tackling: His head-up challenges offer plenty of force and Fisher has the tackle radius to effectively influence and swallow bouncing ball-carriers looking to string plays off schedule behind the LOS. Tackle production has been through the roof thanks to motor and vision for play development, but there are fit issues outside the tackle box that lead to missed opportunities and he can be late to gear down and come to balance, resulting in some frustrating misses. 

Football IQ: This is a very intelligent football player. Fisher has been around the block four times over and that is visible with his pre-snap callouts and anticipation for plays. He’ll preemptively begin flow to the football and that has aided so much of his production. He’s consistent with helping teammates with their assignments pre-snap. 

Competitive Toughness: You will get 100% of what is in his tank on each and every play. He’s easy to admire the motor, hustle, and lead by example approach to the game. Fisher is built to bang between the tackles and offers plenty of hitting power with his pads once he’s established forward momentum. He’s capable of stonewalling iOL with his punch and helping maintain interior gap integrity. 

Pass Coverage Ability: Fisher has managed to log an interception in each of his four seasons with the Wildcats, but his overall coverage ability is limited. He has been charged with shallow drops in zone and walking out to play man-to-man coverage on flexed tight ends, but his drive and burst to combat the top of the route is stale and will create issues trying to stick with NFL caliber tight ends. I wouldn’t endorse a third-down workload for him.

Run Defending: He will check all the boxes to get to the football; the question then becomes how timely he gets there. His downhill fills are assertive and he will crash the gap effectively. His lateral scrape and flow are hindered some by hip mobility to move with pace—and if he’s playside, he’s guilty of overruns. The backside requires him to taper his angles further downfield as he lacks the range to keep pace. He’s most effective (but very effective here) between the tackles. 

Block Deconstruction: Fisher possesses ideal length to press, punch, and extend at point of contact. He does well here with his hands to stun and dip past a climbing iOL with consistency—although he’ll also get busted at times peeking overtop of the developing blocks and catch a blow with high pads and little preparation (Ohio State 2020). This is one of his better qualities and offers him persistent value on run downs. 

Lateral Mobility: Fisher does not possess the kind of range you’d require to play MIKE in isolation in the heart of an NFL defense. He’s more of a power presence to push through creases as compared to a twitchy athlete who can drive and explode to dip underneath blocks when filling his run fits. 

Flexibility: Fisher doesn’t carry a lot of fluidity in space and he’s generally considered a linear athlete. He had success earlier in his career in shallow zone drops and coverage in the MOF but the trends of the NFL game, as well as some apparent regression with time at Northwestern, leave him ill-suited to be a three-down linebacker and responsible for coverage. He’s tall and long, but that can get the better of him in open-field tackle scenarios. 

Leadership: Fisher is a long-tenured presence in the Wildcats defense and he’s become a well-respected quarterback of the defense. He was a three-year captain (2018-2020) for the Wildcats and was considered the glue for the unit as early as his sophomore season. He’s intelligent and a good communicator on the field. 

Versatility: Fisher’s stagnant development over this time with the Wildcats leaves little upward mobility for his pro prospects. Fisher is an early-down run defender who is best served off the field on third downs and obvious passing situations. His special teams appeal will stem from better consistency in open-field tackling.


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Kyle Crabbs: 66.50/100

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network