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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could Nick Fairley Still be On The Board When The Cowboys Pick 9th?

So far throughout the Mock Draft season, help in the defensive secondary has been the most popular thing given to the Cowboys with their first round pick. But in the latest edition of the 2011 NFL Mock Draft at SB Nation, they have gone in a little bit of a different direction, saying the Cowboys will draft Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Here is their rationale.

Amukamara would be a great fit here, and there's a chance that Dallas reaches on an offensive tackle. Fairley, however, is a good talent and star power fit for Jerry Jones and Rob Ryan, and wouldn't need to be an every-down defender immediately.

I think the first thing that comes to mind when you see the Cowboys taking Nick Fairley at ninth is, "Wow, Nick Fairley? That's incredible value, how is he still on the board?" And that would be an appropriate reaction. Depending on who you listen to, Fairley is any one of the top three prospects in the draft; and he had a pretty good combine, so I'm not sure why he fell so far in this latest mock. At nine, he would definitely be a good value pick, and would offer the opportunity for the Cowboys to trade down with a team that might need him more than they do.

Because honestly, I'm not sure Fairley is a great fit at DT for the Cowboys. He is more of the disruptive brand of DT that would be featured in a 4-3. And the Cowboys already have a pretty good DT in Jay Ratliff. Fairley could play at DE in the 3-4, I suppose, but that wouldn't really be playing to his strengths.

If Fairley is on the board, he would be great value. There is no doubt about that. But the Cowboys might be able to get even more value, and players who actually fit their system and fill needs, if they elect to trade down and let someone else take Fairley at nine.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.