The season has been over for almost two months, but yet again, we are talking about an Alabama / Auburn match up. This time, it doesn’t involve trees or Al from Dadeville; rather, it is the battle of the best interior defensive lineman on the board for the 2011 NFL Draft: Marcell Dareus or Nick Fairley.

Nick Fairley has been the favorite for quite a while now to be the top overall pick in the NFL Draft. However, after an impressive showing by his counterpart Marcell Dareus at the NFL combine, Fairley’s stock could have taken somewhat of a hit. Now, it’s most likely nothing that Fairley did or didn’t do, but rather, it’s all about what Dareus did do.

At 6-3, 319lbs, Marcell Dareus went out and ran a 4.94 40 with a 1.69 10-yard split. Once again I hate to even mention his name, but Todd McShay, along with several other Scouts Inc. guys, said Dareus dominated the combine. As a matter of fact, they said it could not have gone any better for him. His strength, power and quickness on all drills were firing on all cylinders, and they were enough to throw his name around for the first overall interior defensive lineman in the draft. Yes, before Fairley.

However, it wasn’t like Fairley showed up looking like Mt. Cody and forgot how to run. He was measured at 6-3, 291lbs, and he was actually lighter than most anticipated. He ran a 4.89 in the 40 and had a 1.76 10-yard split.

Like I said before, it was nothing Fairley did or didn’t do, but it was all about what Dareus did that blew people away at the combine.

Conclusion

Most feel that if the draft were tomorrow, which it is not, then Marcell Dareus would be picked ahead of Nick Fairley. However, there is no way anyone can watch Nick Fairley’s game film, watch the way he dominated the SEC and college football this past season, and not have him as the best defensive lineman on the board. There has not been a more dominating interior lineman in the SEC for quite a while. I think he’s better than Glenn Dorsey, and Dorsey is the best one that comes to mind at the moment.

If it were up to me, and it came right down to it, I would have to take Fairley over Dareus just because of the absolute domination that was bestowed this past season by the monster Auburn defensive lineman. I do believe my own eyes.

You say he has character issues – I say he has a mean streak in him like Ndamukong Suh. The tape doesn’t lie folks, and in the end, it will prove he has more upside and is a better defensive lineman than Marcell Dareus.

Don’t get me wrong – I take nothing away from Dareus and his career at Alabama. He played very, very well, and he is ready for the big stage. However, I just have to take Fairley over Dareus.

Who would you take and why?