In each of Todd McShay's Mock Drafts this year, he has Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley going to the Denver Broncos with the second pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. In both releases of his mock draft, Mel Kiper Jr. has Fairley going first overall to the Carolina Panthers. Scouts Inc's Board has Fairley listed as the second-best prospect in this year's draft. Mocking the Draft ranks his as the fourth highest prospect, though in SB Nation's Mock Draft, Fairley went to the Carolina Panthers. WalterFootball.com does too. CBSSports.com has Fairley going second.
No matter how you spin it, the likelihood of Fairley coming to Cincinnati seems like a long-shot. Still, things happen in the draft. And he had to know, how would Nick Fairley feel if the Bengals drafted him. Want to find out?
Thanks to the coordinated efforts by James Dator of SB Nation's Cat Scratch Reader who put this all in motion, several blogs at SB Nation were able to submit questions, with local flavor to Nick Fairley, who you can follow on Facebook and Twitter.
You've no doubt heard a lot about the Bengals for the past 20 years. If the Bengals drafted you, what would be your first reaction?
My first reaction would be pride. I’d be proud to finally be a member of the National Football League and then right away try to figure out how I can help them the most.
Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is known to be a coach with a lot of fire. What type of coaching personality do you prefer? Laid back or fired up?
Fired up for sure. When the coach calls a play, I’ll execute it then I want and expect him to say- now go do it again.
Several former SEC alums that play on the defensive line, like Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Pat Sims, are nicknamed The Fisher Price Package because of their youth. Could you see yourself rotating with those guys on the defensive line?
At Auburn we watched film all the time. SEC players are among the very best in college football and I definitely can see myself playing with them… and fighting for position too.
Ndamukong Suh had a great year, winning All-Pro honors and being voted into the Pro Bowl during his rookie season. Do you feel like you could reach those achievements your rookie year?
We’ll have to wait and see but I can guarantee you this- I will always give me best and be the disruptive one on the field.
You've been labeled as a 'dirty' player by some members of the media. How do you respond to this?
Everyone has an opinion and mine is that I play the game like it should be played. I turn my motor on at the start of the game and don’t turn it off until it’s zero zero.
It's 4th and 1: Do you want the offense to call a run play or a pass?
A running play because I have a bigger opportunity to make a significant play for the team. They’ll probably run up the middle and I’ll be ready.
Is there a current or former NFL defensive tackle you think your game resembles?
Reggie White because he used his hands well and had great footwork. I put a lot of effort into that and I think it makes me a better player.
What's more important to you: Being the #1 overall pick, or finding a team where you fit with their defensive philosophy?
It’s more important for me to fit into the team with their defensive philosophy but also fit in as an individual. I don’t want to just be another number. I can be both though, right? LOL Really I can’t say it enough and maybe people don’t believe it but I just want to play in the National Football League. And wherever I land I guarantee I’ll work to be the best I can be and make an impact right away.
Do you see yourself as a 3-technique or 5-technique guy at the next level, or do you think you can play some zero also?
I can play any of those, whatever it takes.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson has famously said he'll run under 4.20 in the 40 yard dash at the combine. How fast do you think you'll run it?
I’ll be happy to hold the stopwatch for him. LOL
Are there any events you’ll skip at the combine?
I’ll be ready to show them everything I’ve got.
What do you make of the idea that defensive tackles rarely get drafted No. 1 overall? If it happens, what kind of pressure would you feel to not be "the next Dan Wilkinson" or "the next Steve Emtman"?
Don’t they say defense wins championships? If you’re athletic enough to run down the field and strong enough to hold the block like me then I think a DT can make a great #1 overall pick. As far as the pressure of being #1 overall? I’m a competitor. Pressure drives me to be the best I can. I don’t worry about pressure. I thrive on it.
Darnell Dockett makes some noise with his tweets, sometimes for the wrong reason. What can we expect from you in the world of social media?
I really appreciate and am interested in how the fans feel, in what they think. I can do that really well on Facebook and on twitter. That’s why I do Q&A’s with fans all the time so they know I appreciate them. 87,000 screaming fans in the Auburn stadium really made a difference. I read all of the posts in my twitter and Facebook feeds and respond to as many as I can- MYSELF. And soon I’ll be starting something new just for the fans. We’re calling it "Going Fairley". Stay tuned.
Why do you believe you're worth the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft?
Because I bring an athleticism, leadership and the skill to be a major disruptive force on the field. Off the field I’ll become a valuable member of the community real fast. I want to be a member of the team for the next ten or more years and bring joy to the Carolina fans. If the Panthers pick me I plan on doing everything to make a major impact from the start.