Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley will be making a scheduled visit with the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday, according to ESPN NFL reporter Josina Anderson.
Fairley, selected No. 13 overall during the 2011 NFL draft, is an unrestricted free agent and has dealt with injuries and inconsistencies. Injuries have prevented him from playing a full 16-game season and he's only generated 13.5 quarterback sacks during his four seasons with the Detroit Lions.
That being said, Fairley is an excellent defensive lineman. Prior to suffering a sprained MCL in 2014, Pro Football Focus graded his run defense with a +5.7 and praised his pass rush (+8.1) with 20 quarterback pressures in 181 pass rushes. In 2012, arguably his best season, Pro Football Focus ranked Fairley as the fifth-best defensive tackle -- behind the top-ranked Geno Atkins, of course.
As Detroit scrambles to recover from the impending loss of Ndamukong Suh -- who is prepping to sign a record-breaking six-year, $114 million contract with the Miami Dolphins -- the belief is the Lions will turn their attention to securing a long-term deal with the other half of the team's interior pass-rushing duo.
A first-round pick in 2012, Fairley has exhibited dominant stretches during his four-year career in Detroit. He's arguably always had better instincts defending the run than Suh, while possessing a similar burst off the line of scrimmage when in pursuit of the quarterback.
Many years ago, SB Nation conducted an interview with Fairley prior to the NFL Scouting Combine.
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.