Posted Sun Apr 24th by Jon Heath
The 2011 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and unless they trade down, the Denver Broncos will be selecting second overall. We have been counting down our top seven prospects for the Broncos to select with their first pick.
Number four: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. A 6-4 foot, 291 pound disruptive force on the defensive line, Fairley is mentioned among the top prospects in this year’s draft.
The defensive MVP of the 2011 BCS National Championship game, Fairley recorded 56 tackles, 12 sacks and an interception as a Junior in 2010. A nightmare for opposing offenses, Fairley is a powerful pass rusher and excellent against the run.
Twenty-three years old, Fairley ran a 4.87 timed forty-yard dash and a 31-inch vertical jump at the NFL’s scouting combine earlier this year (he chose not bench). He is projected to be a top-five pick in the first round of the draft, but could drop a little farther than that.
My opinion: Fairley would be considered the top defensive tackle prospect in the draft if not for concerns about his character and work ethic. He is a disruptive player that former Broncos safety John Lynch says is a lot like Warren Sapp and is the type of player that doesn’t come around often.
Fairley is a boom-or-bust player and the Broncos may regret it for a long time if they pass on him on the draft. On the other hand, he could become one of the biggest busts in recent history. In the end, I don’t think Fairley is a risk worth taking at second overall.
Likelihood of him being selected second overall: Moderately high. The Broncos will be looking to address the defense and they may feel that Fairley is their guy. If Carolina selects Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareusfirst overall, Denver may go with Fairley.