Wednesday, July 3, 2013



As I continue with my on the rise series, I take a look at a player who completely dominated in college and was highly regarded as a top pick in 2011; questions about his work ethic and scheme fit then came into play in which dropped him to a team that fit him perfectly, the Detroit Lions and their wide 9 base.  I’m talking about rising star at Defensive Tackle; Nick Fairley.  Off field issues and injuries derailed his rookie campaign in which folks were saying he’s a bust; forward to the 2012 season and the NFL has finally seen a glimpse of how scary Fairley can and will be. 

The Lions have lost a lot on the defensive front with the likes of Cliff Avril, Lawrence Jackson and Kyle Vanden Bosch and replaced them with FA signee Jason Jones (who can play both DE and DT) and drafted raw but a freak of an athlete Ezekiel Ansah in the draft this past April.  With that being said Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh have to become the young leaders of the squad, the front line, they’ll have to lead vocally and by actions.  Fairley and Suh arguably form the best tackle tandem in the league and it’s hard to argue that (Atkins and Peko have something to say about that in Cincinnati). 

Fairley played in 13 games last year and started in 7 of them when Corey Williams went down due to injury.  In those games Fairley put up numbers of 34 total tackles, 13 TFL 1 FR 2 FF 5.5 QB Sacks and had 1 PD.  Over at Pro Football Focus he posted a rating of 19.2 overall, 9.4 rush def and 17.3 pass def to go along with 21 QB Hurries and 8 QB hits.  Needless to say, he’s been a dominant force while only playing 58% of the snaps in 2012.  He does have to cut down on penalties, so unless your IDP league scores against penalties I’d say you’re in good shape.  Word around town is Fairley is a changed man, has a new attitude and sounds more confident; ready to take on a bigger role (leadership). 

If Fairley can keep his head on straight and stay focused for an entire season we’re looking at an All-Pro defensive linemen and incredible numbers.  He’s already put a target on his back entering the 2013 season when he said He and Suh is the best tackle tandem in the NFL.  Entering his third season and seems more comfortable than ever we’re in line to see the dominant Fairley we’ve seen at Auburn; you know the one who had 24 TFL and 11.5 QB Sacks.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Fairley out-produced his fellow teammate, Ndamukong Suh, and become the most important defensive player on the Lions. 

If you’re in an IDP league that requires you to start a DT then you’d want to draft Fairley whom I’ve seen be the 4th or 5th DT taken off the draft boards; sometimes he’s the 3rd DT taken.  You’ll be able to get him on the cheap right now; meaning you could take him 3-4 rounds later than when Suh got drafted unless the word is out and someone drafts him after Atkins (I know I have already).  Nick Fairley is a solid DL2, especially because we haven’t seen the best of Fairley yet and definitely one to keep your eye on come draft day.  Not many DT’s dominate the game in IDP world but Fairley is scratching the surface along with Atkins and Suh; so don’t sleep on Fairley or you’ll regret it.

PROJECTION: 54 total tackles / 10 QB Sacks / 18 TFL / 3 FF / 2 FR 

Brandon “BEE” Salamat

DSE Lead IDP Analyst


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