Leading up to the draft, Who Dey Live will be profiling a number of players who could be targets for the Bengals based on their position or their expected draft spot.
Here are my own thoughts on Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
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Position: Defensive Tackle
Size: 6’4″ – 291 pounds
What I like: Fairley’s explosive ability could give the Bengals a dynamite pass rush. With Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins emerging last year, another solid lineman could keep the Bengals solid up front for years to come. Fairley dominated in the BCS National Championship Game so he’s not afraid of the big stage. Plus, I think the Bengals are better off strengthening the defensive side of the ball with the offense in flux.
What I don’t like: There are whispers that Fairley isn’t exactly the most self-motivated person and could become complacent after signing a multi-million dollar contract. Considering Cincinnati’s Andre Smith mess, the thought of repeating that process is worrisome. In addition, Fairley has had a history of stupid penalties and Cincinnati has struggled with those as a whole. And finally, Pat Sims and Geno Atkins played well last year and Domata Peko is still around, so the team is already fairly deep at defensive tackle. There are definitely positions of greater need.
Final thoughts: I’d rather roll the dice with Fairley than draft A.J. Green, who everyone seems to be selecting for the Bengals. Wide receivers simply don’t win championships on their own. Furthermore, I trust defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to keep Fairley disciplined and motivated. We don’t see too many players coasting under his watch. Cincinnati should give Zimmer even more talent and bulk up both of its lines in this year’s draft and try to win games with defense and a rushing attack. Because the quarterback, whomever it may be, won’t have the skills to do it himself.