Nick Fairley, 2011 NFL Draft
6' 5" 305 pounds
Strengths: Size, strength, quickness, and raw natural ability
Weaknesses: Technique, decision-making, and temper
Projection: Top 1 or 2 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Scouting report by Scot Acocks
After spending two years at the Junior college level and starting just two games for Auburn in '09, Fairley broke out and dominated in 2010. His 21 tackles for a loss and 13 sacks were amongst the best in the country as he showed up every week to play. He was literally unblockable at times and quickly became a QB's worse nightmare.
When looking at the tape the most impressive thing to me about Fairley is that his biggest games came on the biggest stages. He had multiple sack days against Mississippi St, LSU, and Alabama and finished the BCS title game against Oregon with three tackles for a loss and one forced fumble. He also was very instrumental in a third quarter goal-line stand to keep the Ducks from tying the game.
Fairley does not appear to be quite as powerful as last year's top DT, Ndamukong Suh, and he is a little too high-cut. He spends more time than you would like on the ground but does not get pushed around by offensive linemen very often. It usually took at least two to block him effectively and he can fight through traffic to make a play. One of the biggest drawback on him is that he commits some costly penalties at times and has a reputation as a dirty player.
He cost Auburn a 15-yard penalty late in the game against Auburn for some extracurricular activities. Even though this is viewed as a weakness, that vicious attitude and mean streak could serve him well in the pros. He will need a coach who knows how to harness it.
At the moment (1/11/11) Fairley looks to be a candidate to be a top-five pick in 2011.
If he aces his pre-draft workouts he could easily be taken number one overall and be wearing a Carolina Panther's jersey next fall. With the success that Suh and Gerald McCoy enjoyed as rookies in Detroit and Tampa, along with the decision of QB Andrew Luck to stay in school, the chances of Fairley being the top prospect continues to improve.
21 tackles for a loss