NFL Draft 2011: Could Nick Fairley Drop out of the Top 5?

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IMarch 3, 2011

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Defensive lineman Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates a play during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Throughout much of the off season and early mock drafts, Nick Fairley has been rated as the top defensive prospect to headline the 2011 NFL Draft class.

After a less than impressive workout at the combine, Fairley's draft stock is beginning to take a hit. Some experts now say that he could be this years draft day freefaller.

The Carolina Panthers seemed like the logical choice for Fairley, but are now rumored to be interested in many other players like Cam Newton, Da'Quan Bowers and Robert Quinn.

If Fairley were not chosen with the top pick, it would be hard to determine where he may end up.

The Cleveland Browns have made it clear that they intend to build their defense with this draft class. Acquiring a strong defensive tackle may be exactly what they need. The Browns also just lost Shaun Rodgers after the team released him and four others while trying to clear cap space.

Another reasonable destination for Fairley would be the Tennessee Titans. The Titans own the eighth selection in the draft, and publicly looked into the possibility of bringing back Albert Haynesworth last season before the Washington Redskins refused to make a deal.

Fairley's biggest knock at the combine is that he did not seem to be in the same physical condition that many of his counterparts were. Fairley did not have a muscular frame and weighed in at 291 pounds.

Even though muscle size and weight are both key factors, Fairley's play in college has been a slight foreshadow of NFL success.

It will be interesting to see where Fairley ends up as the first round progresses. As the stocks of players keep rising and falling, do not be surprised to see his name come up in many places.


Brian Murtaugh is a Cleveland Browns Featured Columnist as well as the lead columnist for Browns Central