Asked to describe himself on Saturday as a player, Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus didn’t hesitate.
“I would describe myself as a nice guy,” Dareus said, noting that if he knocks a player down, he picks him up.
We can’t help but contrast that answer to Dareus’ competition as the draft’s top defensive tackle: Nick Fairley of Auburn. Fairley has a reputation as a dirty player, who got a ridiculous amount of penalties for hits after the whistle.
While Fairley has received more hype as a potential top overall pick, NFL Network’s Warren Sapp believes Dareus is the better “three-technique” tackle — the position that Sapp redefined. That’s not by accident; Dareus mentioned Sapp as a player he patterns his game after.
“I love Warren Sapp,” Dareus said. “Watching Warren Sapp made me want to play football.”
Sapp and Dareus have never spoken. PFT asked Dareus what Sapp’s praise meant to him and he just smiled huge and said it meant a lot, before noting Sapp won’t be the one drafting.
With better size and fewer questions about consistency, Dareus looks like the stronger, possibly safer option to Fairley. Dareus embraced the “safe” tag, saying his versatility and experience under Nick Saban indeed makes him a safe pick.