As we continue in the hit series Back To Basics, today we discuss the best DL in the nation, Nick Fairley. I didn't discuss him before for one obvious reason, draft position. As of today we stand at 7th overall, and with a loss Sunday to the Eagles that could shoot us up to possibly 4th overall. I tell you right now guys, if we get the 4th overall pick Nick Fairley could be our guy. Drafting 4th overall would really give us a blue chip stud, whether thats Fairley, Peterson, Amukanamora, either one would be a stud blue chip player that the Dallas Cowboys could certainly use. Now in some editions of this series we stressed the importance of the DL needing to be disruptive and get pressure, and Nick Fairley is exactly that, disruptive. Lets jump into the idea of getting back to basics with Nick Fairley.
Nick Fairley was left out of the initial installments of the Back To Basics series for the fact we never had a shot at getting him if we picked later than 4th in the draft, now its a serious scenario if we lose on the road to the Eagles. Look I'm not saying we should tank this game, thats not our style and it never will be. As I stated yesterday all I can ask is to come out and play hard. But being a realist I think we might lose this game. That's okay, I can live with that because of the consolation prize being Nick Fairley.
Nick Fairley is the blueprint of a beast, at 6'5 298 ( or 6'4 298 depending on what draft site you use) he has the perfect frame for a disruptive DL. He is similar to Jay Ratliff with big arms and smaller torso, besides sharing the same college Auburn. Fairley won the 2010 Lombardi Award for being the top college DL in 2010, and he flat out owned it. Fairley had a beast of a year, 21 tackles for losses and 11 sacks. I had the pleasure of watching Auburn play and it wasn't Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton that really impressed me, (even though he is a good player) it was #90 Nick Fairley. When you watch this guy play, he is disruptive and puts pressure on the QB. He is also no slouch in the run department and will clog his gap allowing the RB nowhere to go but straight into his 298 pound frame. In our 3-4 he could play NT like Ratliff, but really you want him at DE where he can blow plays up and pressure the QB. We need play-makers on our DL, especially at DE where we have just "JAGS". What I love about Fairley is his fire and passion, like Dez Bryant this is a kid who loves the game of football. Also like Dez Bryant he didn't have the easiest college career, Fairley fought and worked for all his success.
Alot of people are weary and concerned about Fairley because of his one big year in 2010. Let me be the first to explain that Fairley didn't come out of the dust and blow the world up, he was heavily recruited by Auburn and Alabama coming out of high school. Coming out of Mobile, Alabama in 2007 Fairley actually did commit to play football at Auburn. So Auburn right then realized the kind of potential Nick Fairley had, or they simply never would of signed him to play for them. The problem Fairley ran into was academic eligibility, he was ruled ineligble and spent 2 years at a JUCO college, Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi. After a huge season there where had 63 tackles and 7 sacks he was ready to come back and sign with Auburn, except Alabama wanted Fairley to visit their campus before he enrolled at Auburn. When new Auburn coach Gene Chizik had discovered this, he flew to visit Fairley and stressed how bad Fairley could be part of a new regime at Auburn, and be a big part of it. See this isn't a guy who just blew up over one year, Fairley was a beast blue chipper his whole life, not some guy who blew up and had one good year of football.
What I think our DL actually really lacks, and our whole team for that matter is a killer instinct. Really who on the Cowboys besides Jay Ratliff actually is a warrior and wants to dish out some pain? Now I am not saying hit the QB after he throws the ball for a stupid penalty, I am talking about the fire and tenacity that physical defensive players have like Ratliff and the Ray Lewis's of the NFL. They simply have this fire inside of them and fight every play, when they hit someone they damn make sure that RB or QB feels that hit. Now alot of people say DeMarcus Ware is soft and bash him for not having a more headhunter mentality, actually that's just not who he is. Ware is a sack artist, with a arsenal of moves in his repertoire. Ware goes for the strip, before he goes to hit the QB. Folks there is nothing wrong with going for the football and Ware not being a more physical guy. Thats never been his game, and don't change a player who is basically a All Pro at what he does every single season. But what the Cowboys should do is draft more of the physical DL. In the trenches I want the big mean physical players, not finesse DL. Ware is a OLB so I think it may differ a little bit in its own respects. But down in the trenches I want players like Nick Fairley. I really cant remember when the last time the Dallas Cowboys had a mean, feroucious, DL. The days of guys like Russell Maryland and Leon Lett are long gone. Now Jay Ratliff is a mean physical player, lets not leave that out, but guys like Bowen, Igor, Hatcher, Spears give me that feeling. A guy who also may have that style is Sean Lissemore, I have no idea because we haven't seen enough of him yet.
Now I don't know if the next story is true, but if it is then Nick Fairley is a beast. I heard that Fairley was in high school and approached by the high school QB, who demanded Fairley give him his lunch money and Fairley did. Fairley I guess remembered this event and was fueled by it. So I guess he hit his growth spurt and got REALLY big and decided to play football and actually still carrys a grudge against ALL QB's. I have no idea if this story is true or BS, but if it is man I love guys with chips on their shoulders, especially 6'5 300 pound DL's that are big and nasty. I want guys who hate QBs, and Fairley even admits in a recent Sports Illustrated article that he hates QB's. He has knocked 3 of them out of games, and his mother even called him to ask why he is trying to hurt QBs. Seriously guys tell me right now that doesn't intrigue you more about Nick Fairley, the guy HATES QB's. Thats going to be the guy in your trenches fighting every game trying to dish out pain, that's exactly what the Dallas Cowboys need, MEAN players. No more Mr. Nice Guys, because being nice gets you nowhere in football, it actually gets you losses. Hit people and giving them a hand after the play to get up. I tell you right now I am dying for us to draft Nick Fairley off his nastiness alone, because we f'n need to get back to being mean in the trenches.
Now this is a direct quote from Nick Fairley in the Sports Illustrated issue he is featured in, "I definitely feel like I can be the difference maker in the national title game, Its all about being a disruptive force, getting in the backfield and wreaking havoc on what Oregon is trying to do, I don't care how fast they snap the ball, If I can get to that quarterback, good things will happen for us". See I have stressed in every edition featuring DL in Back to Basics, that you need to be disruptive and pressure the QB, and Nick just laid that out for us. He clearly understands that being the disruptive force he is, is essential to winning football games. This is clearly something the Cowboys have lacked all season and a major reason for most of our losses and troubles on defense, because if you cant blow plays up and get to the QB your going to have a hard time winning in this league. By adding Nick Fairley the Cowboys would be upgraded on the DL by all accounts. What its really going to help is Jay Ratliff get back to being the force of nature he has been his whole career, and I actually think Fairley is the next Jay Ratliff. Both are similar size wise and have that nasty beast like attitude to them. Can you actually imagine those 2 on the same DL? I would seriously cream my pants if I get Nick Fairley for the fact alone that teams might draft this kid, but they don't have a Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware to pair him with. If Spencer could get his sh*t together next season, we would have 3 guys you are just going to have some serious trouble with the assignments of blocking these men. Nick Fairley and Jay Ratliff on the same DL would compliment each other and allow each other to be great.
I really believe Fairley can come in and play DE in our 3-4. Alot of teams in the draft think he can play in a 43 or 34, because he is that good of a prospect and I totally agree. What I would like to see is Ratliff Brent Fairley type of DL maybe Ratliff at NT but a better DE than Igor on the other side. We need playmakers at DE, we need to be disruptive and apply pressure to the QB. All of these players can compliment each other, Fairley compliments Ware and Ratliff and Ratliff will compliment Fairley. Even if we retained Marcus Spears for the right price a DL of Spears Ratliff Fairley would be pretty good and I would love to look forward towards seeing a DL of that combination of skills.
This is a major reason of thinking about drafting Nick Fairleyis what he does for our defense as a whole. With Fairley, Ratliff, Ware, and Spencer playing at a high level, it makes our secondary better. One could argue Patrick Peterson would make a better draft pick, and I wouldn't argue that fact because I love Patrick Peterson too, but you gotta believe he is going to be drafted before Fairley. Picking 4th overall might me a godsend to this franchise, Nick Fairley comes in with Ratliff and Ware and you have 3 major pieces to the puzzle on defense. Teams would kill for this scenario, alone in having Fairley. What this defense and team needs is more players like Nick Fairley, the beasts that have the fire and mentality of physical play. It would be a big step forward in getting Nick Fairley come this April. Fairley is Suh-like, he is the disruptive force of nature that teams drool over in the top 5 picks of the draft. Nick Fairley is the blueprint of a beast, size, physical, passion. There is nothing more exciting than the actual possibility of the Cowboys selection 4th overall this April, because we have been through alot of BS this season. Getting back to basics, fixing the OL, being mean in the trenches, getting playmakers at FS and SS, and a real head coach aren't exactly re-building a franchise from scratch. This can be done in a season, we have talent here and Garrett could be the man we have been looking for since Jimmy Johnson left this franchise.
Getting Back to Basics begins with fixing the trenches, building from the inside out. If we are somehow blessed with Nick Fairley I will be so thankful, but even if that doesn't happen and we get Prince Amukanamora or Cameron Jordan we are still getting a stud folks. Its just that Nick Fairley is a special special player, he just has "it". This is a player who on his first play in high school jumped over the line sacked the QB and recovered the ball. Some players are born beasts, some players grow into beasts, and some never achieve beast status. But Nick Fairley is the blueprint of a beast, and the blue and silver would be the perfect home for him.