Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn
Junior, 6’5″, 298 lbs.
As one of the fastest risers in the 2011 draft class, Nick Fairley has come out of nowhere to becoming one of the most dominant players in the FBS this year at the DT position. With great size and ultra fast athleticism for a big DT, he’s proven that even though he’s a JUCO transfer, he’s been dominant in one of the toughest conferences in the FBS. While he does have some things that people marvel at there is the concern that he has become a dirty player with some of the hits he has put on players. While its not something that’s ridiculous like a drug bust or assault charge its something to note because he has made some hits that aren’t clean and has started to garner a reputation towards being a dirty player.
With the positives its simple to see with Fairley and something that a lot of teams will marvel at because he’s so quick and has some nice pass rushing moves already even though he’s a JUCO transfer. It’s something to marvel at because he’s not a 250 pound OLB who relies on speed and moves to beat his defender, he’s an around 300 pound DT who uses his leverage, speed and strength to beat some very good defenders to earn a lot of sacks this year. Its almost amazing to watch him because just when you think he’s going to get stopped, he ends up bull rushing or making a ridiculous move to get the QB. I honestly could go on and on about his pass rushing and how he plays as a player but I’ll go on and talk about his weaknesses because those carry a bigger affect on how I project him at the next level
Fairley really has only 2 major concerns or weaknesses I see in him and one has to do with him being a JUCO transfer. I don’t have anything against JUCO players as some end up not having issues moving to the next level but at the same time it does make you concerned as an evaluator of his game because he’s only put up these stats for one year as in 2009 he only had 1 sack but this year out of nowhere has posted double digit sacks and been dominant. The question then has to be asked why did he all of the sudden produce these stats? Is it because of him getting more PT and allowing to be a player and do his thing? Or is it just him realizing his potential and seeing what he has athletically and realizing he can be one of the best in football. I have to wonder and many scouts will as well but the fact remains he’s a dominant pass rusher on the field. The other issue with him is something I briefly talked about earlier and that’s the dirty hits he’s had this year. It’s something for me as a scouting guy I don’t like at all because its just cheap and it shouldn’t happen. The time where I really sat down and watched him was the UGA- Auburn game and he had a couple of dirty hits shown in this youtube clip
When you watch it he’s making late hits and the one that was the most troublesome was putting the crown of his helmet into the back of QB Aaron Murray. That’s just a blatant cheap shot and something that IMO he should have been ejected for because he could have really hurt the QB, and I’m a proponent of letting the guys play, but a dirty hit is a dirty hit. I’m not trying to discredit him as a player because I think very highly of him, but at the same time if I’m a scout doing an interview of him during the offseason I’m sitting there studying his character concerns left and right to see what he says and if he really is a good hearted guy who made a couple dumb plays or if this really is a part of his attitude.
Now comes down to the question what does Fairley entail for the Redskins? Well this is a skewed opinion because I don’t see him making it to the 10th pick and I feel we will take a QB at the #10 position. Fairley is someone who if he came here though would have an immediate impact because he would line up as a 3-4 DE and with his high end pass rushing and size he would be able to put up a 6 or 7 sack rookie season because of how quick and dominant he can be. While there are those some high expectations of him, he very well can do it because he’s a skilled pass rusher and in a 3-4 scheme he would be able to do a lot when it came to 3rd down passing situations. While he’s a great college player, I don’t see him making it to 10 and it’s a shame given how talented he is
– Justin P.