Greetings Lions fans. Congratulations on your draft. I know it normally takes a few years to evaluate a class, but nevertheless it seems like your team did an excellent job over the weekend.
My name is James and I'm a manager over at Cat Scratch Reader, SB Nation's Carolina Panthers blog. Back in February I had an opportunity to interview Nick Fairley, when he was in the consideration for the #1 pick. While I'm sure his answers were intended to say all the right things, I figured you may be interested in what he said back in February so I thought I'd post the interview for you after the jump.
Best of luck in 2012, hopefully we'll see football soon!Cat Scratch Reader: You've been labeled as a 'dirty' player by some members of the media. How do you respond to this?
Nick Fairley: Everyone has an opinion and mine is that I play the game like it should be played. I turn my motor on at the start of the game and don't turn it off until it's zero zero.
CSR: It's 4th and 1- Do you want the offense to call a run play or a pass?
NF: A running play because I have a bigger opportunity to make a significant play for the team. They'll probably run up the middle and I'll be ready.
CSR: Why do you believe you're worth the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft?
NF: Because I bring an athleticism, leadership and the skill to be a major disruptive force on the field. Off the field I'll become a valuable member of the community real fast. I want to be a member of the team for the next ten or more years and bring joy to the Carolina fans. If the Panthers pick me I plan on doing everything to make a major impact from the start.
CSR: Is there a current or former NFL defensive tackle you think your game resembles?
NF: Reggie White because he used his hands well and had great footwork. I put a lot of effort into that and I think it makes me a better player.
CSR: What's more important to you: Being the #1 overall pick, or finding a team where you fit with their defensive philosophy?
NF: It's more important for me to fit into the team with their defensive philosophy but also fit in as an individual. I don't want to just be another number. I can be both though, right? *laughs* Really I can't say it enough and maybe people don't believe it but I just want to play in the National Football League. And wherever I land I guarantee I'll work to be the best I can be and make an impact right away.
CSR: Can you tell us a little more about your ‘Nick Flair' nickname?
NF: It started on Twitter. I said Whooo! And a fan commented that I sounded like Rick Flair. We just had fun with it and one day it turned into Nick Flair
CSR: How do you feel about potentially going to a 2-14 team?
NF: I'm willing and able to come in and help turn things around. We get the talent and the chemistry going on the team and that's what we'll do- turn it around.
CSR: Do you see yourself as a 3-technique, a 5-technique guy, or do you think you can play some zero also at the next level?
NF: I can play any of those, whatever it takes.
CSR: Are there any current Carolina Panthers defensive players you would like to play next to?
NF: All of them!
CSR: What do you make of the idea that defensive tackles rarely get drafted No. 1 overall? If it happens, what kind of pressure would you feel to not be "the next Dan Wilkinson" or "the next Steve Emtman"?
NF: Don't they say defense wins championships? If you're athletic enough to run down the field and strong enough to hold the block like me then I think a DT can make a great #1 overall pick. As far as the pressure of being #1 overall? I'm a competitor. Pressure drives me to be the best I can. I don't worry about pressure. I thrive on it.
CSR: CB Patrick Peterson has famously said he'll run under 4.20 in the 40 yard dash at the combine. How fast do you think you'll run it?
NF: I'll be happy to hold the stopwatch for him. *laughs*
CSR: Are there any events you'll skip at the combine?
NF: I'll be ready to show them everything I've got.
CSR: If you could tell one thing to every Carolina Panther fan, what would it be?
NF: Draft me. I hear you've got the kind of community I would like being a part of.