More and more NFL rookies are expected to contribute early in their careers. However, for them to make an impact they need to beat out a veteran player. We are going to analyze the situation of specific rookies and determine the likely hood of them winning a position battle.
Player: Nick Fairley
Team: Detroit Lions
Position: Defensive tackle
Competition: Corey Williams
Chance of winning the battle: 45 percent
Thoughts: You could classify the Lions selection of Nick Fairley as bit of a surprise because of the current depth chart. However, Detroit has done and excellent job adding talented players to the roster and Fairley was to talented to pass up. This selection makes an already good defensive line stronger and arguably one of the most dangerous in the NFL.
Fairley will be competing against Corey Williams for playing time and it is sure to be a good battle. Williams is a bit of a different player than Fairley but had a very good season. He is more of an occupier than a penetrator which likely means Williams will continue to have a role on this team. Last season, Williams compiled 37 tackles but only 2 sacks and likely making him a two down player.
The most likely scenario is Fairley getting plenty of time on the field as part of the defensive rotation. He will no doubt get a lot of playing time in passing situations due to his ability to penetrate and create pressure. However, he will enter training camp fighting for more snaps and will no doubt want to be a full time player. I see Corey Williams starting but Fairley seeing more time on the field.