06 Aug Preseason Scouting Notes: Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
Redshirt Senior | 6’4″ 246 lbs | Katy, TX
A physical linebacker with a consistent motor who needs to improve his tackling technique and blitz acumen
Paddy Fisher’s enters his fourth consecutive year as a starter for Northwestern (38 starts) and second as a captain. Throughout his collegiate career, Fisher has played in a variety of defensive schemes for the Wildcats. A majority of his snaps have come from a 3-4 defensive scheme as the Mike LB, though he’s also patrolled the middle played in a 4-3 scheme on occasion.
– Does not shy away from contact. He is not afraid to embrace the physicality within the trenches
– Thrives while dropping into zone coverage. Patrols his designated zone(s) while simultaneously keeping his eyes on the QB. He is sure to knock receivers off stride and disrupt their routes
– Possesses the ability to adequately maintain pace with TEs while in coverage
– Constant motor. He is not the fastest player on the field, but he continuously displays effort and does not quit on plays
– Consistently communicates with his teammates pre-snap
Areas to improve:
– Takes poor angles and overcommits when pursuing ball carriers
– Has the proper tackling technique when his shoulders are square to the ball carrier. If he is not squared up in a proper position, he tends to lunge at ball carriers in an attempt to make a play
– Unproductive blitzer. He struggles to penetrate the backfield and generate pressure on the QB
– Struggles to shed blocks of offensive linemen of stronger competition
– Cannot diagnose plays before they happen. He reacts as the play develops rather than beating offensive players to the correct spot
– Does not initially recognize route combinations
– Repeatedly fooled by run fakes. Bites hard and gets out of position
While he’s advertised as a run-first linebacker, with the traits that he displays, Fisher is actually more consistent in the pass game compared to the run game at this point. His responsibility at the next level will be as a Mike linebacker in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. He will also see a multitude of snaps on special teams, where his physicality can shine. Fisher projects to be taken somewhere mid-late on Day 3, but may be taken earlier if he can sharpen up his run game ability.
What to watch for in 2020:
Can Fisher clean up the angles he takes when in pursuit of ball carriers and become more disciplined as a tackler? The poor angles that he takes is why he whiffs on what should be easy tackles. When he is beat because of the angle he has taken, Fisher lunges at the ball carrier as his last resort in hopes of making a play. Additionally, will Fisher show more reps in man coverage? Proving his ability to man up with TEs and RBs could go a long way in influencing his draft stock.