Draft Watch: Auburn DT Nick Fairley

ESPNDallas.com looks at potential Cowboys picks for the April 28-30 NFL draft.


Position: DT

School: Auburn

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 8 overall

Bio: Won the Lombardi Award and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after setting Auburn single-season records with 24 tackles for losses and 11.5 sacks as a redshirt junior in 2010. … Was a consensus All-American, a finalist for the Nagurski Award and a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy. … Fairley, a junior college transfer, had only one dominant season in major college football. He had only 3.5 tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks as a reserve in 2009, his only other season at Auburn.

Size: 6-3 7/8, 291

40-yard dash: 4.85

Arm length: 34 ¾

Hand size: 9 ¾

225-pound bench reps: Did not lift at scouting combine.

Vertical jump: 31

Broad jump: 9-5

20-yard shuttle: 4.56

Three-cone drill: 7.14

Broaddus Breakdown (viewed South Carolina, Alabama and Oregon games): Looks physically like a defensive end more than that of someone that would play over the nose in a 3-4 scheme. Can see why teams that play in a 4-3 scheme would be interested in him as a 3 technique defensive tackle over the guard. … Fairley can be difficult to handle because of his explosiveness off the football. Where he gets in trouble at times is when he comes off the ball upright, tall, and then exposes his numbers to the blockers. … I did not see a wide range of pass rush moves -- overarm or swim was his most productive one. This will be an area that a defensive line coach in the NFL can help him with because he does show quickness and power. … Likes to “bull rush” or overpower blocker with a straight ahead charge. Will fight to become an upfield rusher but needs to do a better job with his hands when he is trying to disengage off blocks. … Gets upfield because of quickness and strength. His technique work will need some serious work. Needs to fire his hands inside and do a better job of controlling the blockers then finding the football. … Can be a load when he gets into position to make a tackle. Type of guy who is physical when he wraps you up and plants ball carriers in the ground. … In the running game, he struggled with linemen who were down around his feet. Did not play the low block with the type of technique that he needs to use. This goes back to playing with his hands. When he keeps his pad level down, he can make plays. … On the goal line against Alabama, he was able to stay low, shoot the gap and trip Mark Ingram before he was able to get started. Had another impressive play when he stood up as an outside linebacker against Alabama in a special defense where he was on the outside then folded back inside, causing a blocking mix-up for the line and backs and getting a clean hit on quarterback Greg McElroy. … The biggest question I have on Fairley is his conditioning. There are large stretches in the games that I viewed where he wasn’t even on the field. I now understand when scouts were talking about the plays he takes off. … More of a natural player than a technique sound guy. Interested to see where he ends up in the top 10 but would not take him over Marcell Dareus of Alabama.