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Marcell Dareus: The nicer, safer option to Nick Fairley

Alabama's Dareus tackles Duke's Varner during their NCAA football game in Durham Reuters

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.

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15 Responses to “Marcell Dareus: The nicer, safer option to Nick Fairley”
  1. henny66 says: Feb 26, 2011 12:49 PM

    Dareus probably made less money at Alabama than Fairley did at Auburn. I think Dareus will be hungrier to get drafted higher and get paid.

  2. allthingspigskin says: Feb 26, 2011 1:09 PM

    I am a firm believer in Mike Mayock’s opinion and it seems that taking the high character guy in this type of situation is a no brainer. You are giving way too much money in this spot, to a guy known for taking plays off and was constantly watched by refs because of his dirty play. I am not doubting his talent as I have seen him play and he made it extremely tough for opposing teams at the college level. Unfortunately, he is moving on to the NFL where it will not be as easy as it was against an over matched Oregon offensive line.

  3. reillyb1 says: Feb 26, 2011 1:19 PM

    Dareus is way overrated. Fairley is very obviously a better player.

  4. GhostoftheBay says: Feb 26, 2011 1:45 PM

    Do you take a 3-technique DT that high in the draft? Since they are just asked to occupy linemen and let LBs make all the plays?

  5. jaguars25433 says: Feb 26, 2011 1:51 PM

    @henny66 so you’re saying the 3-star offensive guard (Nick Fairley) coming out of high school, isn’t gonna be more hungry? Nice call dumbass

  6. jaguars25433 says: Feb 26, 2011 2:03 PM

    Also, to Gregg, I guess when you talk about Dareus being more consistent, you’re refering to his 66 career tackles, and the 3 games this past season where he had only 1 Total Tackle in each game. Compared to Fairley’s 84 or so career tackles in 2 seasons.

  7. CKL says: Feb 26, 2011 2:23 PM

    Deb is gonna hate me (Sorry girl…nothing personal!) but I am scared to death of Saban players in the pros.
    My team’s coach won’t even draft them high and Saban used to work for him.

  8. thompgk says: Feb 26, 2011 2:43 PM

    Nice call Jags

    I want a DT that considers himself a big cuddly muffin

  9. straightcashhomey1 says: Feb 26, 2011 2:54 PM

    I guess the fact that Dareus was suspended by NCAA for taking money or benefits speaks to his high character? How many penalties were assessed Fairly for personal fouls? Basic journalism skills should tell someone not to make a statement like “who got a ridiculous amount of penalties for hits after the whistle” and not specify what constitutes a “ridiculous amount”

  10. polishkingski says: Feb 26, 2011 2:56 PM

    my cousins kid played football with dareus in high school and they had him over to the house for cook outs more than a few times. i don`t have any idea if he will be a better pro than fairley but my home boy says he is a really good kid, polite, hardworker…..etc. i hope he does well. buffalo would be a nice spot for him to play. are you listening buddy?

  11. bamasucks says: Feb 26, 2011 3:41 PM

    Dareus has better size than Fairley? in what universe is 6-3 300 better size than 6-5 300? what if we compare stats and game film? and as far as character goes, which player had to serve a 2 game suspension last year(hint: it wasn’t Fairley). Mike Mayock is a moron.

  12. dawgpound2010 says: Feb 26, 2011 3:59 PM

    Dareus will be picked because Fairley has so many “character” issues. I like the drive and spirit that Fairley exhibit at times but you don’t want someone who is going to cost your defense penalty yards with stupid mistakes and cheap shots.

  13. bigmike7914 says: Feb 26, 2011 4:51 PM

    What Dareus does on the football field isn’t the sexy stuff, he occupies two maybe three lineman on any given down and is equally good against the pass rush as well as the run he’s hardly ever penalized and if you one on one him he will make you pay Nick Fairly got dominated quite frankly if you ran straight at him he was only affective when you ran away from him or on obvious pass downs Dareus is consistent week in and week out tackles don’t determine how good a DT
    is it’s how good he plays in the scheme he’s in if you want know how good Dareus is ask Rolando McClain .

  14. andyreidisfat says: Feb 26, 2011 4:58 PM

    IMO i would take Darius first. Mostly because i think Fairley looks a lot like Dorsey from a couple years ago. A guy who is great when it comes to college when his physical skills won on ever play where as in the NFL it doesn’t work that way. But in reality i wouldn’t take either of these guys a head of a cB peterson or the DE Bowers so i don’t see what the argument is. Those two IMO are by far the best NFL prospects, but if were talking first pick and i am Carolina i am taking AJ green, this is a pretty deep draft and if you make the right trades you can get three or 4 good players in the first 4 rounds so i would take the guy who would make the biggest impact right away and to me for the Panthers its Green.

  15. mutantninjarobot5000 says: Mar 1, 2011 11:56 AM

    Durng the course of the season, Fairley was flagged one personal foul penalty for a late hit, which was the dirty hit he laid on Aaron Murray in the Georgia game. I can only remember him receiving two other personal fouls the entire year. One was for pushing LaMichael James’ head, and the other was for sacking Greg McElroy in the Alabama game and being happy about it.

    To bigmike7914. Fairley did not get dominated when teams ran straight at him. Auburn’s run defense this past year was stellar. And the only back that gained over 100 yards on the Tigers all year long was Ellington from Clemson, and most of his yards came on traps and counters, none of which were ran straight at Fairley.

    Like Dareus, Fairley was often double teamed, but still managed to produce a monstrous statistical season.

    But as you say, the DE responsibilities in a 3-4 are different, as Dareus effectively managed to get pressure while also walling off blockers and creating blitzing lanes for the linebackers. I don’t know if Rolando McClain would be the man to ask since Cody ate up most of the blockers in ’09 (making Dareus’ job easier). Courtney Upshaw would probably be the man to talk to about Dareus’ abilities as a 3-4 end. Upshaw, a supremely skilled athlete and rush linebacker, broke out this season, and probably not in small part to Dareus doing a great job in front of him.

    As to who to take first, I would probably go with whoever interviewed best. Both are the marquee defensive tackles in a year full of talent at the position.

    I think Fairley has a higher ceiling. He measured at (approximately) 6’4 291, and still has room to fill out. An NFL workout program could add 10-15 lbs and allow him to maintain his quickness and burst. He has more to learn about technique, and he’ll have to play with the same intensity that he displayed the second half of the year (minus the bonehead mistakes). Still though, if a team can get him to reach his potential, he can be a consistent Pro-Bowler.

    If Fairley has a higher ceiling then I’d say Dareus has a higher floor. At 315-320, he’s already maxed out his body. He needs to improve his technique just as any rookie, but he’s NFL ready and probably more suited to play right away than Fairley. Despite his faster split, I don’t think he comes off the ball as quickly as Fairley, but he still has great burst. As such, I think Dareus is nearly guaranteed to be a solid player at the very least whereas Fairley is probably more of a risk.

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