Nick Fairley Will Face Particular Scrutiny as Panthers' Potential No. 1 Pick
He doesn't have to play a game. He doesn't have to get hit by guards and centers.
But Fairley is going to be put through the ringer by the NFL. They are going to ask questions about his stay at junior college and about his grades. They are going to look at some of the cheap shots he delivered against Georgia.
The Carolina Panthers are going to examine Fairley, and Auburn's Gene Chizik is not going to be there to ward off unpleasant questions. A college coach, with his salary on the line, does not always hold his star player accountable.
Fairley might not make it through the shakedown.
I think I know Jerry Richardson -- he is a gentleman, a thoroughly nice man, most of the time.
Can Fairley pass the big boss' taste test? He is going to have to be clean, not of drugs, but in personality and work ethic.
The SEC did not have a marquee guard/center combination, so you wonder if Fairley can pass the test of the talent scouts. He had one sensational season, so some eyebrows are being raised about what happened before this magical season.
It is hard to tell who the Panthers would pick if Fairley does not pass his tests. Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green made a lot of plays down near the goal line. What's his speed like? He's an acrobat, but who takes a wide receiver first?
It might be the Panthers grab Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and have bookend marauders -- Charles Johnson, the other Carolina defensive end, had a breakout season with 11 1/2 sacks. NFL quarterbacks rule the game and the more you can do to make the other team's quarterback uncomfortable, the better.
The Panthers really need offense, but they also have to consider how to use this valuable first pick. Do you want a receiver like Green you might target just 10 times a game, or do you want a pass rusher who will target the quarterback 25-35 times a game?