Potential Patriots draftees: Nick Fairley

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Potential Patriots draftees: Nick Fairley

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Nick Fairley.
Nick Fairley, 6-4, 291DT,Auburn

The Skinny:Simply dominant. Took over games at the line of scrimmage for the National Champion Auburn Tigers. Won the Lombardi Award after having a junior season in which he had 24 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. Mean, edgy player who could be a fierce weapon on the defensive line. He'd play the defensive tackle spot in the 3-4 and kick inside in the 4-3.

Gotta Have Him:"New England could be the one spot he could be a Pro Bowl player," says Wes Bunting, the draft analyst for National Football Post. "Talent-wise, I think he's better than Marcel Dareus (widely seen as a top-five pick). He could be one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL. The Patriots have had athletic guys before but Fairley is different." Fairley would be playing next to Vince Wilfork in the right defensive end spot. He can two-gap with great effect.

Don't Need Him:The concerns about Fairley's commitment have driven him down the hypothetical draft boards so that he's even worth talking about for the Patriots at 17. And that doesn't even mean he'll be there at 17. The Patriots would almost certainly have to go up close to the 10th spot to get him. Is that a move they want to make for a kid who - though never in any legal trouble - has somehow got everybody worried about his commitment and desire?

Forecast:Practically speaking, the Patriots would have to go up to possibly 10 (where the Redskins are itching to deal out of) to get a shot at Fairley. And it's been speculated he could be gone to Tennessee at No. 8. But the "rap sheet" on Fairley shouldn't scare off New England. They have a fairly mature defensive group and a solid team structure that would help Fairley see what is expected. "He's a former junior college kid and people I've talked to say he still acts like a juco kid," Bunting said. "Immature. Does he love football or does he love what football gives him? Motivation is a big thing. But it looks like he has a passionfor thegame. He's nasty. He may just need some mentors. There's a little Warren Sapp in Nick Fairley."

Patriots Draftability: 7

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Tom Brady claims No. 1 spot on NFL's top 100 list

Tom Brady claims No. 1 spot on NFL's top 100 list

The NFL Network revealed the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished in the No. 1 spot.

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

Several Patriots players made the cut on this year's list: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Brady was also voted in as the No. 1 player back in 2011. 

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL players vote every year on which players should make up the list of the best their game has to offer, but it's an imperfect system. And that's probably putting it lightly. 

The NFL Network will reveal the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night at 8 p.m. It will be an order that has been chosen by some players, not all. Of those who took part, some hastily made their way through a handful of names at the end of last season handing over their choices. 

Yet it's the list the league ends up with, for better or for worse, prompting responses like JJ Watt's when he found out he was No. 35 this year after playing in three games last season. 

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

This year, several Patriots players from 2016 made the cut: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Tom Brady will be the last of Bill Belichick's players to be named. He's lumped into a Top 10 that will include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Von Miller and Khalil Mack.

Here's what we think the list should look like when the curtain falls on the finale of this flawed endeavor:

10. Elliott
9. Beckham
8. Bell
7. Brown
6. Ryan
5. Jones
4. Miller
3. Mack
2. Rodgers
1. Brady