NFL Draft 2011: Why All the Love for Alabama's Marcell Dareus?

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NFL Draft 2011: Why All the Love for Alabama's Marcell Dareus?
Marcel Dareus big hit on Colt McCoy

In the April 24 edition of The Birmingham News, Alabama beat writer Don Kausler wrote a glowing review on Marcell Dareus and why he might be the overall No. 1 draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft:

Why all the love for Marcell Dareus?

I keep reading articles on how Nick Fairley's draft stock is plummeting and how he may not even be picked in the first round. Huh?

You see, Nick Fairley is a "one-year wonder," and is a dirty player. What about Marcell? 

Dareus is praised for his hit that put Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the BCS National Championship game. But if you look at a photo of the play, Dareus is clearly leading with his helmet—the type of hit that many wanted Nick Fairley thrown out of college football for last year.

As far as the "one-year wonder" tag, both Fairley and Dareus did not start full time until their junior seasons last year. Dareus started only four games as a sophomore. Dareus played on a great Crimson Tide defense, while Fairley played on an allegedly terrible Auburn defense so offenses could key on Fairley. And surely his statistics were not as good as Dareus. 

Let's take a closer look:

                         Dareus          Fairley

Total Tackles         34                  60

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Auburn's Nick Fairley had the better statistics by far
Sacks                   4.5                11.5

Tackles for Loss     11                  24

Yards Lost             41                 106

Fumbles                 0                   2

Interceptions          0                   1

The statistics are really one-sided for Fairley. In fact, Fairley did about as much in one year as Dareus did in his entire career at Alabama. Funny how Fairley gets stuck with the "one-year wonder" tag and the media does not put this tag where it belongs. I guess they can't because Dareus has yet to have one great year to even earn that tag.

Also, I keep hearing that Cam Newton's stock may drop due to "character issues." In his article, Kausler mentions that Dareus did have a brush with the NCAA: "He's made some mistakes," Burley said, "but he didn't hurt anybody."

Wow. Dareus was actually suspended for two games for accepting $2,000 in improper benefits on not one, but two trips to an agent party in South Beach, as reported by Chuck Oliver on College Football News.

Why does the media not bring up "character issues" when discussing Dareus' draft potential?

With statistics not even coming close to those of Nick Fairley, his dirty hit on Colt McCoy and two-game NCAA suspension, you have to ask the question: Why all the love for Marcell Dareus?

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