John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley has lined up official team-facility visits with eight of the franchises drafting in the top ten.
The only top-ten clubs not hosting Fairley are the Cowboys and Cardinals. So that means he’s heading to Carolina, Denver, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tennessee, and Washington.
On his blog, McClain makes the claim that Fairley’s reported pre-draft fall is inaccurate, or at least unwarranted. McClain cites “three scouts and personnel guys” who say there’s been no recent movement on Fairley’s draft stock, and likens the criticism of Fairley to “looking for a pimple on Halle Berry.”
However, the Cowboys and Cardinals’ lack of interest in Fairley is telling. He’s not nearly as valued by teams that run 3-4 defenses. Fairley is 6-foot-3 and somewhere between 291 and 297 pounds, and is not “scheme versatile.”
For instance, a 4-3 team in search of a pass-rushing “three-technique” defensive tackle might grade Fairley as a top-five player in the draft. A 3-4 team, however, could have him in the teens or 20s.
Combine one-year wonder concerns with Fairley’s lack of appeal to a large number of NFL teams, and he becomes a realistic candidate for a slight slide down the draft board on April 28.