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Will the Titans select Nick Fairley at #8?

As I mentioned in this previous article, Nick Fairley was predicted as the Titans’ first-round pick in eight of 13 mock drafts I surveyed.

It’s easy to see why the prognosticators like to match Fairley with the Titans at the number 8 pick — he has value and he fills a need.

From a value standpoint, Fairley certainly qualifies.  Fairley is ranked sixth on Walter’s Consensus Big Board, last updated April 10, and was ranked as high as third by Mel Kiper.  Here’s the scouting report on Fairley by Eric Galko, the Director of Scouting for Optimum Scouting.

Fairley would definitely fill a need.  The Titans haven’t been stout against the run since the departure of Albert Haynesworth.  Tony Brown’s knee problems are certainly a concern and he will probably never play as well again as he did in 2009.  Like Brown, Jason Jones is a great pass-rushing DT, when healthy, but his health is a question mark.  Part-time starter Sen’Derrick Marks still hasn’t fulfilled any expectations of a second-round draft pick.  None of them excel against the run.
At first glance, Fairley isn’t the type of defensive tackle I’d prefer.  I’d like another guy with a big body like Marcell Dareus (although he’ll probably be long gone by #8) and Fairley is about 15 pounds or more lighter than I’d like.
The good news, though, as reported by Paul Kuharsky a few days ago, is that Fairley is expected to get much bigger and stronger, according to one scout.  “He’s a big, big, massive man. You’ve got to realize he hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he’s going to be physically. He’s going to get bigger and he’s going to get stronger, which is scary.”

More good news is that if Fairley isn’t picked in the top three, which is entirely possible, he’ll probably still be available at #8.  The Bengals, Cardinals and 49ers all have more pressing needs, though I can see the Browns looking at him with their #6 pick.  However, the Browns will also be looking hard at DEs Robert Quinn and Da’Quan Bowers and WRs A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

If I had to hazard a guess right now, Nick Fairley would be my prediction for the Tennessee Titans when they send in a name for their first-round pick.  What do you think?  Will Fairley still be on the board at #8 and will the Titans select him?