Opener fires up Fisher-Joeckel debate

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The issue of whether the Chiefs made the right decision in choosing one offensive tackle, Eric Fisher, over another, Luke Joeckel, won’t be settled Sunday when Fisher’s team, the Chiefs, plays against Joeckel’s, the Jaguars.

But the fact that the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the April draft will be on display in the same regular-season opener provides a handy occasion to look back at the reason the Chiefs picked Fisher instead of Joeckel.

There was no magical moment that vaulted Fisher over Joeckel in the minds of Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid. After their exhaustive research, they simply believed Fisher had a better chance of becoming a great player.

“I thought Eric Fisher (would help) the Kansas City Chiefs more than Luke (would),’’ Dorsey said.

The young NFL careers of both players have run roughly the same course. Each is playing right tackle and missed some time in camp because of injury. It might not be a surprise if the careers continue to parallel one another.

There seems to be little that separates them.

“Both of them are very good players,’’ Reid said. “They’re both going to have long careers and a lot success in this league . ... I think (Joeckel) is a heck of a football player and I think he’s done well in the preseason so I know he’s going to have a great career.”

Had the draft order been reversed, with Jacksonville picking first and the Chiefs second, Joeckel and Fisher would have wound up with the same teams. Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said the Jaguars had Joeckel as the top-rated player on their draft board and Fisher No. 2.

Another sign, perhaps, that there’s little to choose from between the two.

“If Fisher had fallen to us, believe me, we would have been excited, too,’’ Bradley said. “We just felt like Luke, in talking to him and his play on tape and just the conversations we had with him, we had him rated higher but it wasn’t a significant difference."