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Rams Roster Preview: Nick Fairley, the Best Rotational DT in the NFL

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The Rams turned some heads by signing Nick Fairley as a rotational DT. Will he be worth the investment?

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the 2011 NFL draft, Nick Fairley was getting some recognition as a potential #1 overall pick. He had a monster junior season at Auburn when they went on their National Championship run. He ended up sliding to the Lions at pick #13 in the draft for various reasons.

Draft hype aside.... Fairley paired with Ndomukong Suh on the Lions the past 4 seasons as half of one of the more formidable DT duos in the league. He had a reputation as a 'dirty' player at Auburn, but those issues fell by the wayside while he was playing next to Suh. Rediscovering that edge in St. Louis would likely get Fairley on very good terms with Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams - whose affinity for legal aggressive play is well known.

Roster Battle

This is relatively nonexistent. Fairley will be part of a 3 man DT rotation with Michael Brockers and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald. There may be some debate over which 2 of the 3 start, but expect them all to get fairly (sorry... I couldn't resist the pun) equal usage.

Expectations

When the contract details were released, I saw Fairley using Rams as jumping point for larger contract next offseason - something I have no issues with. However, if that's the case I expect him to take advantage of the one-on-one blocking he's sure to see this season. Opposing OLs can't double-team everyone - meaning that Fairley will be free to wreak some havoc.

Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)

The Rams gave Fairley a nearly $2M signing bonus to be a big part of the DL. He's going to be on the team.