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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Nick Fairley Leads List Of Defensive Line Prospects For The Redskins

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We've spent a lot of time wondering which quarterbacks may be the best option for the Washington Redskins at the 2011 NFL Draft, but there's a school of thought that going with a quarterback isn't a good idea. Instead, many feel the Redskins should focus on the defensive line. In particular, the Redskins desperately need a nose tackle.

So who might be available to the Redskins at No. 10 if that happens? Here are a couple possibilities. All three may be off the board before the 10th pick, but if not, they are the consensus top three defensive tackles in the draft.

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

Fairley is a hot name right now because of the way he dominated Oregon in the BCS Championship Game. He consistently got behind the line of scrimmage and stopped Oregon's running plays before they started. Considering the Redskins' need for a nose tackle, Fairley is a name that surely will draw interest. However, he will probably be off the board before the No. 10 pick.

The other issue for Fairley is whether he would be able to adapt to a 3-4 defense. SB Nation's Mocking the Draft has its doubts:

As a three-technique tackle, Fairley's game is pressure and quickness. His game isn't based on strength. That showed early in the national title game when Fairley was controlled pretty well in the first quarter.    

Regardless, Fairley probably won't be available at No. 10.

Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Dareus has declared for the 2011 NFL Draft, a smart decision because he is shooting up the draft boards. Unfortunately for Redskins fans, he has a lot of the same weaknesses as Fairley. Alabama's defense fell off a bit this year in part, and Dareus missing two games didn't help. He's also more of a pass rusher than a guy who can play in a two-gap system.

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Now here is a guy who may be more up the Redskins' alley. Paea is not an elite pass rusher, mostly because he doesn't really have outstanding lateral quickness, but he has been a rock in the middle of Oregon State's rush defense. He isn't the most technical player, but he has the size and strength to be a run blocker in the center of a 3-4 defense. As Mocking the Draft writes:

Paea might not be the widest of bodies, but he is a rock in the middle of Oregon State's defense. He anchors especially well because of his lower body strength. He's hard to move off the line and routinely requires double teams. As a senior, Paea faced a lot of triple teams in the run game.