There is a deep pool of potential impact defensive players in the 2011 NFL Draft. Some mock drafts project as many as seven or eight defensive players being selected in with the first ten picks of the draft. One such player is Auburn DT Nick Fairley, who is projected in some mock drafts to be selected number one overall by the Carolina Panthers.
SB Nation Arizona and a few other of the sites in the SB Nation family had the opportunity ask Fairley a few questions. Although it is fairly unlikely he will be available for the Cardinals to select him with the fifth pick overall, we still thought we might pick his mind and find out what he would bring to Arizona desert. We even ask how he'd do at quarterback.
Here's how the Q&A went:
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? 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.
Ken Whisenhunt has a reputation for being tough on rookies w playing time. At what point do you have a goal to be making significant contributions or even starting?
I'll fight for playing time. I expect and will work to make an impact from the very beginning. Once you get a taste of what it's like to have an impact. To make a difference for your team over and over again like I did last year for Auburn, you never want it any other way.
One concern the Cardinals coaching staff has with rookie linemen is their ability keep at a good playing weight. What do you think your ideal playing weight will be?
Darnell Dockett makes some noise with his tweets, sometimes for the wrong reason. What could 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 (His handle is @Nick_Fairley251). 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.
Here in Arizona, the team needs a QB. Who gives the Cards a better shot at winning, you or Max Hall at QB?
Me of course! No really, my athleticism will bring a lot to the team. Not only am I disruptive on the field but I'm a leader on and off the field and in the community too.
You in a foot race with Deuce Lutui. Who wins?
If the race begins with the first step then I'll win.
Again, I do not believe that Fairley will be around when the Cardinal select at number five. Even if he were, considering the Cardinals' 3-4 defensive scheme and the fact that they drafted DT Dan Williams just a year ago, they might not go that route.
Either way, at least regarding the quarterback question, he might not be wrong. He might give the Cards a better chance than wonderboy Max Hall. And I think I might beat Deuce in a foot race. (OK, maybe not.)