Admist the frantic, last-gasp chase of a playoff spot, there’s no doubt the Arizona Cardinals scouts are watching film on Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher.
Ah, the NFL draft. It is celebrated amongst NFL fans thanks to the league’s great scheduling tactics to make the anticipation grow high, now almost two months after the last football action we get from the NFL Combine. There is pageantry, stories and the chance to change a teams future with every pick.
The first round hasn’t been all that kind to General Manger Steve Keim. From Josh Rosen, to Robert Nkemdiche, and Michael Floyd, there has been some very infamous players selected. Many say that Keim just hasn’t hit on his first round picks, and for a long time that was true. Kyler Murray and Isaiah Simmons are turning that around however.
Arizona will most likely end up in the middle-ish of the first round in draft order, and there is a linebacker that would further make the linebacking core more reliable and fit the scheme. Paddy Fisher out of Northwestern fits the mold of what an Arizona Cardinals linebacker should be- hard working, passionate, and under the radar.
Paddy Fisher has fallen under the radar
According to some sources and scouts, Fisher’s stock took a hit as his production dipped. Most likely due to the team having an abysmal 2019, and the emergence of help around him from Blake Gallagher and Chris Bergin in 2020. Taking a look at the chart below, we can see the sharp decline.
This shouldn’t deter you from appreciating his work. Leading the Big Ten in tackles your freshman year is an accomplishment to be proud of. He even carries around a notebook of all his film notes and keeps it with him at all times. His consistency (despite his stats) is something that you can’t coach, and he’s an absolute unit in the weight room. On top of all of this, he helped Northwestern reach two Big Ten title games, and they gave Ohio State everything they had.
Pairing Paddy Fisher and Isaiah Simmons
This would be an absolute dream for defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph. Fisher could be your man on the inside, plugging holes and stopping lead blockers in their tracks. Meanwhile, Simmons can be played on the outside and we’ve already seen his great coverage skills. They would complement each other very well. The team would most likely have to make a decision on Dennis Gardeck, or Devondre Campbell as the other starter. Campbell’s contract is up after this year, along with Gardeck’s.
Draft strategy for Arizona
In order to get Fisher, the Cardinals would most likely target him in the 2nd round due to his slight slide. Fisher would solidify the middle of the 2nd level on the defense, and along with his work ethic, would be a player Cardinals fans will fall in love with. He’d easily be the best linebacker since Karlos Dansby, and hopefully would remain a Cardinal for life.
Hopefully Pat Fitzgerald’s clone will be successful as an Arizona Cardinal in the NFL.