Monday, January 31, 2011

Pick Fairley at No.1 -- or else trade the pick

I read with interest Joseph Person’s excellent story in Sunday's Charlotte Observer on former Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who is one of the Panthers’ candidates for the No.1 overall pick in April.

Are there questions about Fairley? Sure. Always have been, it sounded like. The guy has a couple of major red flags – a grade-changing scandal (which he says he wasn’t aware of) in high school, and a reputation as a dirty player in college (based on the highlights, this one has some merit). Plus, he really only had one big-time season in college – in 2010, when he was thoroughly dominant. In 2009, he really didn’t do much at Auburn.

Is all that enough to pass on Fairley?

Absolutely not.

The Panthers no longer have a great option at No.1 since Stanford QB Andrew Luck decided to stay in school. But to me, Fairley has the slight lead at the moment to be the “best-available” option at No.1 – if the Panthers can’t find a good deal to trade the pick, which to me should be a very viable option at this point considering that the team’s depth is too far down at several positions.

But if no trade works out, right now I’d pick Fairley. Remember Kris Jenkins in his best years at Carolina, before he got too fat and his knees could no longer support that enormous body? He could be an ornery teammate, but he made life so much easier for everyone else, because he either took up two blockers on every play or he disrupted things.

Fairley reminds me of Jenkins, who had his own baggage but was so important to the Panthers’ Super Bowl run in 2003. I’d pick him over Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers. I’d do that in part because the Panthers need DT help more than DE help and partly because unless you’re just a great DE, you can be taken out of a game a little easier than a DT (who is right in the middle of the defense) can.

So I’d say right now, about three months before the draft and noting that stuff can always happen in those three months, here’s where I am on No.1: Either pick Fairley or trade it.

49 comments:

Apex_Assassin said...

I'm sure you put a lot of time an effort into this article, but you didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. Which teams would want to move up to #1? To move from #3 (Buffalo)to #1 would cost their 2nd and 3rd rounder. Trading the pick sounds nice, but it isn't realistic.

Kablammodotcom said...

Too much down-side (to use the lingo). Maybe this kid will be good for a year or two, but that's it. Then there's the real possibility that he becomes a huge headache for the team and for a community with a low tolerance for the shenanigans of pro athletes.
Anyway, just because Kiper or Shefter or whoever says he's the #1, that doesn't mean the Panthers are obligated to pick him.

Anonymous said...

regardless who they pick... Hurney will find some way to screw it up.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying, but unless they upgrade the offense significantly in free-agency I'd like to see them take A.J. Green. A decent free-agent DT may be easier to find than decent offensive weapons. That being said, I wouldn't be too upset if they took Fairley.

Anonymous said...

Just don't trade with the Pats anymore, please! They'll be taking someone that will help them at #33 this year and we'll have Armanti Edwards to show for it.

Melissa Mott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ohio Panther said...

I'm pretty sure Hurney said in some interview recently that they were going to trade the #1 pick for a low #3 and high #6 and they're going to pick some project players that they really think can contribute on the practice squad.

A Real Panthers' Fan said...

Hey Ohio Panther,
Why don't you just jump on the Browns' bandwagon! I'm sure they would appreciate another troll!

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that Fairley is a talented player, but his cheap-shot attitude (as evidenced by the Georgia game where he blind-sided the Bulldogs QB) will quickly get him into trouble at the next level. Da'Quan Bowers is a Carolinas guy, and is talented with a high-character, relentless approach to the game. Moreover, there are no guarantees that Charles Johnson will be back, and the Panthers' other DEs are still unproven. The black hole at defensive tackle is a concern, but I would always go with the guy with better leadership qualities over the one with red flags like Fairley. So, its my hope the team will pick Bowers.

panthster said...

I think we should trade down a bit for next years number 1 draft pick, but only with another really bad team. This will give us the chance for another number one pick. So who will be the worst team next year? SF? OAK? US?

Anonymous said...

The pick is not trade able. There is one other hole that is supposedly the top priority for this off season. Answer to that "priority" won't be fixed in free agency (whenever that might start, likely after the draft) and we don't have the ammunition to make a meaningful trade offer for a QB (again we likely won't be able to trade until after the draft.

When you offense was one of the worst in NFL history last season and you have no number 2 pick you don't draft defense.

There is a Nic Fairley in every draft and people don't realize that early draft picks on DT's have a higher fail rate than QB's.

But whatever.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Apex_Assassin, the only trade that makes sense is to parlay the #1 overall pick into two picks in the first two rounds (which is where we should be anyway! GRRRR). But who would do that? The teams in dire need of DTs are the ones right behind us on the draft boards (Buf/Den). Maybe Washington can be sold on Fairley as a replacement for Haynesworth, and in exchange we get their #10 and #41 picks. Heck, with Snyder anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

I'd be willing to trade Jimmy Clausen for a big ole turd

Anonymous said...

You can make the same exact argument for Cam Newton and the Panthers need way more offensive then defensive help.

Draft Newton #1.

Anonymous said...

If we hadnt landed Clausen last year, I would prefer Newton to Fairley but I think we have a keeper with Clausen.

Anonymous said...

I know there will be football in 2011 at some point, but part of me thinks it would be worth losing the whoel season in order to get Luck in 2012.

James said...

The Panthers need someone to cover Roddy White, Mike Williams, and Marques Colston. Patrick Peterson should be the #1. He's also a great punt returner

Anonymous said...

Nice job rehashing someone else's article...again. Is it possible to get something from Fowler that doesn't start with the following:

1. Three things I like/didn't like...
2. Five things I like/didn't like...
3. Just thought I'd comment on the excellent article somebody else wrote today since I'm too lazy to write my own.

Then again, since what you usually write is borrowed from other members of the sports media maybe short, pointless bits like these are your best work.

Anonymous said...

Panthers need to look hard at offense...WR,TE,OL. If I was going to take a defensive player #1, it would be Fairley.

Anonymous said...

what's the use on drafting a DT when your offense can't even score double-digits??

Anonymous said...

Fairley sure looks a lot like Haynesworth to me. Just as Dan Synder how that is working out.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would take A.J. Green and fill the other holes through free agency. Maybe they can also pull a trade for Kevin Kolb...

JimmyBoy said...

Does Philly need a DT? Would we want to draft and trade for Kevin Kolb?

Jim said...

My only concern about drafting the one year wonder Fairley is we may be strenthening our defense, but who needs to lose 21-3 versus 28-3. We need points!!!! If Steve Smith stays, take AJ Green. Now you have 2 outside real threats. Let Lefell or Gettis then emerge as a 3rd receiver.

Anonymous said...

Cam Newton = Jamarcus Russell

No way do you pick him.

Anonymous said...

What happens if there is no CBA and no season? Do we get the 1st pick in next year's draft? I haven't seen anyone answer this question.

Anonymous said...

Usually I don't like the cheap shot guys but this mountain of mean looks to me as if he will play for a long time. I could see him ten, twelve years down the road still pushing people around and crushing QB's, we need someone like that. It is always a chance picking first so lets man up and do it.

Kenneth said...

I don't know how many of you watched Auburn all year but I did. When I evaluate players on this blog people say I'm crazy, until things work out exactly like I said they would. So Im telling you Fairley should not be taken #1 by the Panthers. Yeah, he looked like Warren Sapp during the championship game, but I saw every game and he was not consistently dominant. On the opposite end of the spectrum Cam Newton wasn't sharp during that championship game but he was very impressive all of the other games. Why is it so hard to see the differences in these player's talent? Fairley is no where near the caliber of player Kris Jenkins was. When healthy he was the best, and his motor never stopped. Sometimes Fairley plays lazy and he isn't as strong as Jenkins. Fairley isn't as good as Suh from last year's draft. We can get a defensive tackle comparable to Fairley in the 2nd or 3rd round. But the thing that we have to have is that elite quarterback. This is our best chance at it with Newton. Look at what Big Ben and Aaron Rodgers are doing throwing and running. No one wanted Vick and that was a mistake. We get a do-over with Newton. Let's not blow it.

John said...

Cam Newton is also a one year wonder with his own baggage. And he looks more like Russell than Vick to me.

Anonymous said...

Both Nick F and Bowers are 1 years wonders, to bad nobody will trade up #1 overall. If they could trade back I would love for them to draft Phil Taylor out of Baylor. He reminds me of a Kris J with less baggae, but weight concerns with it.

Why draft a project Cam N #1 overall? This team need players who can contribute rightaway, notplayers who sit on the bench collecting checks for 2-3 years before playing.

Kenneth said...

If we can find a sucker and trade out of #1 and still draft Newton in the top 10 I'm all for it. But I don't think teams are going to be in a hurry to trade up and get Fairley. This shows you he's not hands down the guy to take. And I really believe the other teams value Newton more than some of our fans do. Or at least they will after he wows them at the combine and his pro day like I know he will. He might not last as long as you think. Then will be left holding the bag again like with Vick. We simply have to have that quarterback with great talent. I agree that Newton will have to adjust to the NFL game since they ran a version of the spread offense. But all rookie quarterbacks are projects. Very few of them have played well that first year. Why would we hold Newton to a higher standard than Hall of Famers who struggled initially? The difference is Newton's potential is through the roof. We will only get so many chances to get a quarterback with superior talent. Since Luck pulled out Newton's the only one with that kind of potential left. If we get players at other positions and begin to improve in the coming years we will still only go as far as the quarterback takes us. I'm tired of marginal qbs. We need a difference maker. If we have to wait a year or two before Newton becomes that player so what. The signal callers on the roster currently aren't capable of ever becoming difference makers. And there's nothing wrong with going and getting a stop gap qb in the meantime as long as it's not Vince Young or Kevin Kolb.

Anonymous said...

The Panthers learned the hard way with RB Biakabutuka (sp?) why not to pick someone with only one good college season. Do not pick Fairley for his one good season! If the Panthers don't make some kind of trade with Philly for Kolb, they will struggle with QB issues and losing for many more years to come.

Ethan C said...

I don't think you can take Bowers, Fairley, or Newton with an easy mind. The most can't miss top guys in this draft are AJ Green(My personal favorite pick), Patrick Peterson, and then the corner from Nebraska(Prince ....). However, I doubt we get the #1 pick next year for Andrew Luck so we should do what we can to trade the pick to someone else in the top 20 and hope they suck next year for their top pick and this years. I am thinking someone who is normally lower than this year(Jacksonville, Kansas City)...

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but all this dreaming about getting Andrew Luck next year is wasted time. I bet that, one way or another, Luck ends up at SF with Harbaugh or maybe even Denver with Elway and the FOX.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can trade this pick for a QB and the other teams #1. Not sure who that would be though. Scott why not research this for us today while we are working!

Anonymous said...

I would really like to see the Panther's trade down. I think Fairley is going to be good, but I'm not sure that he's going to be worth a number 1 pick. There's always a team ready to trade up who thinks they are 1 player away. Even if it's not Fairley, someone will want somebody. Let's trade down and try to stockpile draft picks. That's the fastest way to build a team. Especially when ownership frowns on bringing in free agents.

Anonymous said...

Still no offers from any teams willing to give up a big ole turd in exchange for Jimmy Clausen....

The asking price may be a little steep.

J said...

Let me start by saying I'm a die-hard Auburn fan still gleeful about the first national championship in 53 years. My take on the two big War Eagle names available:

Fairley has made some dirty plays, but he's not a dirty player. He did get some well-deserved personal foul penalties. But everyone was pitching a fit because he body-slammed people instead of tackling. Whatever. This is a game for powerful men. If you don't like how hard somebody tackles you, get off the field, put your panties and skirt back on and go home. The 2 hits people talk about the most were in the Georgia game. The first, where he led with his helmet, was flagged, and should have been. The second one, that knocked Murray out of the game, came when a UGA lineman blocked Fairley into Murray, and Fairley hit Murray's knee at just the right place to injure it. UGA players and fans won't admit it, and the media never called them out on it because everyone in the media had already decided that Newton's controversy made him and Auburn responsible for every evil in the history of mankind. Fairley will figure out not to take plays off the first time he does and gets pancaked. I think he's worth a #1 pick.

Newton was fabulous. I so thoroughly enjoyed watching him dominate college football and win all the awards. However, QBs that come from a spread offense generally don't convert to pro-style very easily. Will Newton be successful in the NFL? Probably. But not before 2015.

sdot said...

some of these comments i hear up sound crazy to me.(1)example i hear trade steve smith.to a team that can win a super bowl.he deserve to go to a winning team.This team isnt obligated to trade steve smith so another team can win. the super bowl he signed the contract which i think he got 2yrs left on that deal the panthers have his rights and obligated to put a winning product on the feild for this organization.(2)tag and trade d.will for draft picks dont you want to see that talent in a panthers uniform.along with j.stew remember double trouble.he d.will is a big part of our running game. that this team is going to need.i rather keep a pro bowl runnig back than have a rookie i know nothing about that might turn out to be a bust.(3)dont draft fairely trade down and get more picks.in this weak draft class this year you get the best player available.to help your team just dont trade down and load your team up with mediocre talent.this will set you back for years to come.because they more likely be nothing more than role players.plus you forget who will be making those picks (marty hurney) need i say more.(4) people forget they already started the rebuilding process last year so its time to build up not tear this team down more.they need to sign all there best players.and build around them.draft the best players.to turn this thing around.what im trying to say stop all this nonsense. about givng up our players to other teams so they can win super bowls.when this team need all the help it can get.remember 2-14 its only so much we can get rid of. by trading our best players we will go from 2-14 to 0-16. its time to build up not down.

Anonymous said...

"That's the fastest way to build a team. Especially when ownership frowns on bringing in free agents".

The 2 teams that are playing in the superbowl don't overpaid free agents. They build thru the draft, in which they are excellent in doing. They don't trade high draft picks for project players such as AE.

Anonymous said...

LUCK WILL DEF BE A PANTHER IN 2012 IF THEY PLAY THEIR CARDS RIGHT AND LUCK KNOWS HE IS WANTED HERE.

FORGET THE LYING IDIOTS WHO SAY HE WONT BE HERE. THEY REALLY DONT WANT LUCK. THEY WANT NEWTON OR GREEN. GO FIG. GET IT?

Anonymous said...

I agree...if they don't trade down, Fairley is the no-brainer. As a Dawgs fan, I wouldn't be upset if they picked AJ Green either, and he would certainly ratchet up the receiving game quite a bit, but Fairley just seems like a dominant force, and we have needs at his position. One or the other for sure.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, since Scott loves to pontificate on things that the rest of us already know, try this: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/591235-how-to-fix-the-nfls-worst-team-the-carolina-panthers-in-6-easy-steps

More insightful comments on places like bleacher reports who still incorporate articles from Scott and Tom when they actually put out something worth reading. BTW, I tried emailing Scott to ask if he could verify the draft order in 2012 if there is a lockout, and guess what....crickets. Had to get a guy from CBS Sportsline to answer the question for me. Seriously, Scott and Tom need to step up their game or I'll get my info from sources that actually offer something worth reading!

Anonymous said...

Trade dow and get the conerback!
Defensive tackle's not that as important in the defense the Panthers use.

Anonymous said...

It's a no brainer, trade the pick, Fairley is a thug.

Anonymous said...

Yalked to Proehl at a Greensboro restaurant towards end of season. It is his opinion that Matt Moore was our best QB out of the 3 -- But that in general, we have the leagues WORST situation at the spot.

He said our 2 new receivers will be good when they have a pro throwing to them. He DOES NOT like Clausen, not sure about Pike and laughed at the notion of Armanti ever being an NFL QB.

He summed up our QB situation by saying "We are in the dumps with these guys"

He cannot stand Jimmy boy - I will guarantee you that, and I wish Jimmy would read this.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if he thought he'd be coaching down here in Charlotte ? -- hahaha

Anonymous said...

This is an easy one - pick A.J. Green. Our defense did fine last year with what they had, and with Rivera having the #1 defense last year with a bunch of no-names, the defense will be in good shape. Pick A.J. Green #1 overall, then pick up a couple of decent free-agent QBs to compete for the job and manage the game. If the Panthers really wanted to make a move they would see about trading next year's #2 and 4 for Kevin Kolb who is already lobbying to start or be traded.

best credit repair company said...

Fans at Ford Field might finally get to root for first-round pick Nick Fairley.