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2011 NFL Draft: Auburn DT Nick Fairley reportedly to visit the Browns

By Nate Ulrich Published: March 26, 2011
Auburn's Nick Fairley celebrates with the Coaches' Trophy after beating Oregon 22-19 in he BCS National Championship NCAA college football game Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley has visits lined up with the Browns and seven other teams picking in the top 10 of the NFL Draft, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Browns, of course, have the sixth overall pick and are in the market for a defensive lineman. The Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals are the only two teams in the top 10 that don't have meetings scheduled with Fairley, according to the report.

Fairley, who is 6-foot-3 7/8 and weighs between 291-297 pounds, compiled 60 tackles and 11.5 sacks last season for the national champion Tigers. Last month at the NFL Scouting Combine, Fairley edged the draft's other top defensive tackle prospect, Alabama's Marcell Dareus, in the 40-yard dash (4.87 seconds to 4.93 seconds), though Dareus had the better 10-yard split (1.66 seconds to 1.76 seconds).

Fairley could be an ideal three-technique in the 4-3 defense, which the Browns are converting to with the guidance of new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. However, critics have labeled him as a cheap-shot artist who occasionally takes plays off and a one-year wonder because he started only two games at Auburn before his sensational 2010 season.

''I think I play the game the way it should be played,'' Fairley said at the combine. ''I play with a high motor. I hit a light switch once I hit the field, and I don't hit it off till I leave the field. . . . I want to show [NFL teams] the 'one-hit wonder' is not in me.''

How do the Browns view Fairley?

"I think he's a tough player," Browns General Manager Tom Heckert said at the combine. "He really is. I guess there's a fine line (between dirty and tough). I was fortunate to have (offensive lineman) Jon Runyan play for us in Philadelphia for a long time and some people called him dirty, but he's a tough player. Those guys, it's not after-the-whistle stuff. I think it's more toughness than being a dirty player."

Note: Don't forget to check out the list of other draft prospects who have visits or workouts scheduled with the Browns.

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