Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley is entering the NFL Draft a year early, taking his controversial Lombardi Award-winning act to the highest level. He’ll be a top-10 pick and could go as high as No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers.
Fairley isn’t on Ndamokong Suh’s level, but nobody else in this year’s class is even close anyway. Still, Fairley is an incredible talent and was very clearly the best player on the field during Oregon’s offensive possessions in Monday night’s BCS title game.
He is, however, an often-unblockable mauler with what old-timers call a mean streak, though his astoundingly aggressive play has earned him penalties that would’ve meant major fines at the NFL level. He’ll need to find a way to play with the same intensity but greater common sense. If Roger Goodell doesn’t get him, some enterprising offensive lineman surely will.
If the Panthers take him, Fairley would catch absolute hell during his annual trip to the Georgia Dome after the ax work he put into Aaron Murray, but he really doesn’t seem concerned with what opposing fans think of him, so whatever.