Even with all the labor uncertainty surrounding the NFL, there will be a draft at the end of April. Right now, one of the top picks figures to be Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who is leaving school after a stellar junior season.
Fairley helped lead Auburn to a 22-19 win over Oregon in the BCS National Championship game. He was a consensus All-American and the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He also won the Lombardi Award given to the nation’s best lineman. He had 60 total tackles and set single-season Auburn records with 24 tackles for loss and 11-and-a-half sacks.
This week, he joined Dave Logan and Lois Melkonian on 850 KOA’s “The Ride Home” show.
850 KOA: In the national championship game, you played Oregon in the national championship, a team that runs the spread. They have amazing skill-position players and great speed. Going into that game, with Coach Chizik having a defensive mindset, what were some things you guys were primarily focused on going into the game?
NF: We really had to stop the run. Like you said, they use the spread offense and they were going east and west and trying to get downhill. We had to stop the run and then worry about the pass.
850 KOA: How did you celebrate the national championship?
NF: We went to the (Auburn) complex and when we pulled up there were a lot of fans there. We celebrated there with the fans for two hours. We signed autographs and saying thank you for the awesome support throughout the year.
850 KOA: Let’s go back to the regular season game against Alabama. You’re playing against a big rival on the road and they get off to a big lead and it looks like it’s going to be a blowout loss for you guys. How did you guys stay focused in that game to come back and beat a really good team on its field?
NF: Our seniors had great leadership.
850 KOA: Why did you decide to forego your senior year of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft?
NF: I think I accomplished everything I wanted at Auburn University. We were a good team. I had a long talk with (Auburn Defensive Line) Coach (Tracy) Rocker and (Head Coach Gene) Chizik and came up with the decision. It was better for me to forego my senior year.
850 KOA: You’re projected to be one of the top picks in the draft. As you know, the Broncos have the second overall pick. What do you know about the Broncos and have you ever spent any time in Denver?
NF: I’ve never been to Denver before. I’ve just been working out getting ready for the combine and the draft itself. I’m just waiting patiently.
850 KOA: You only started two games in 2009 before having a breakout season in 2010. What changed for you?
NF: In the offseason, I worked really hard. I tried to be the guy that Auburn goes to when we needed a stop on defense.
850 KOA: At the combine, when you have to lay down on the bench and put on the 225 pounds, give us a ballpark figure, how many times can you lift it?
NF: Wow. I couldn’t say right now.
850 KOA: Thanks for your time, Nick and good luck to you.
It sure sounds like the Broncos will look to bolster their defense in the draft. If the Broncos keep the second overall pick and Fairley is available, would you like to see the Broncos draft him?
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
Tags: Nick Fairley