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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Addressing Tennesse Titans Draft Needs: Defensive Tackle

With the upcoming draft on April 26, 2011, I will be addressing the Tennessee Titans most likely draft prospects and also address the team’s main needs. I will research the latest credible sources and web sites for the best possible information.

This week features:

Defensive Tackle Nick Fairley



291 pounds

Strengths: Size, Strength, Mean Streak, raw athleticism and explosivness.

Weaknesses: Maturity, Technique, and Temper.


Fairley was projected to possibly be the number 1 pick after his performance in the BCS national championship game against Oregon. Recently he has slid down the expert boards due to some sub-par workouts. Fairley also didn’t weigh in at the weight the scouts thought he would as he came in at just under 292 instead of his listed weight of 305. Fairley went from being the projected number one to second at his position, as Marcell Dareus supplanted him in his workouts. With that being said let’s not forget that Fairley was the dominant defensive force on Auburn’s national championship team. He was the enforcer and hit opponents with such reckless abandon it caused some opponents to cry foul for his late hits. Fairley has been called somewhat of a one-year wonder as he splashed onto the scene this year after spending a couple of years in junior college. It’s a fair judgment but at the same time you can not deny this guys talent on the field. He dominated in the SEC which is the best and toughest conference in the country. He had 13 sacks and 21 tackles for lost which put him amongst the leaders in all of college football. In some cases, Fairley was doubled teamed and STILL was able to get a piece of the QB. When Fairley showed up with his A-game this guy was all but unblockable.

Fairley’s immaturity (some call it mean streak) showed from time to time. In Auburn’s game against Georgia, Fairley flattened QB Aaron Murray well after the play was dead and it caused his team a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Those are the type of things that drives coaches crazy. He also was known around SEC circles for excessively late hits and numerous coaches spoke with officials before games to make sure they took notice. I for one don’t mind the mean attitude. If you play a position in which you have to move 300 pound men, nothing wrong with having a chip on your shoulder while doing it right?

Todd McShay of ESPN recently had this to say about Fairley: The more you watch Fairley on tape, the more worried you get he’ll be a bust,” said McShay, who also questioned Fairley’s work ethic and consistency. “He has a chance to be a bust.”

I don’t know if I would go that far but McShay is the one getting paid the big bucks to make assessments so we have to at least listen to him.

Team Fit: The Titans love to draft defensive linemen and they may go that route again this year. Over the past three years the Titans have taken a D linemen three times in the first or second round (2010: Derrick Morgan 1st rd 2009: Sen"Derrick Marks 2nd round 2008: Jason Jones 2ndround). Tennessee’s system with Jim Washburn relied on keeping linemen rotated and fresh in games. That may change now that Washburn is in Philadelphia and the Titans now have Jerry Gray heading the defense instead of Chuck Cecil. If they do decide to go that route, then Fairley should be available at the eighth spot in the draft. Tennessee was 8th in the NFL with 40 sacks last year so it’s questionable to go after yet another defensive lineman. The Titans seemed to be still searching for that dominant force in the middle that was left void by Albert Haynesworth and Fairley would be expected to fill that role if drafted.

Outlook and draft possibility: So we know the Titans love to breed defensive linemen and they have a chance to nab a projected pretty good in Fairley. Is it a match? It depends on who you talk to. The Titans still need to address the QB position and a few other holes on their roster. The defensive linemen position seems to be a strength on the team so why would they waste a pick on a strength? Fairley, if put in the right place and if he has the right mind frame, could dominant just like he did in college. He could give the Titans the nasty force in the middle that this city hasn’t seen since Haynesworth. He could change the identity of the defense with his play. I think the Titans will look long and hard if he is available at 8 and if no better talent is on their big board, they will choose Fairley.

Draft Possibility Percentage: 70-80 %

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