Examining Fairley vs. Dareus

INDIANAPOLIS — One of the main threads of chatter throughout the NFL Scouting Combine has been about the depth and talent of the defensive linemen, whom coaches and GMs pointed to all week as the strength of the draft. Within that group, the conversation narrows to Nick Fairley versus Marcell Dareus as to who the top interior lineman available has been.

Teams will have the next eight weeks to determine who they give the higher draft grade to, but Dareus had one advantage during their on-field workouts Monday — at 319 pounds, which is 28 pounds heavier than Fairley, he had a much better 10-yard split (1.66 to 1.76 seconds) in the 40-yard dash. 

“All it does is reinforce to me is that if I need a defensive tackle, this is my first tackle off the board,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.

Then again, combine numbers aren’t for everyone.

“When you look at Fairley, he’s not your typical cut-up guy,” NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. “But when you go back and turn on the tape and see the production, you lose sight of how he looks. You don’t care. …  He’s one of those guys that I don’t care what he looks like. Forget that part. Tell me, can he play? Because that’s what he demonstrated last year.”

With both players expected to go high in the draft, it will be a big decision for teams with top-10 picks.

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