Nick Fairley's stock should stay high

Nick Fairley was in opposing backfields a lot last season for Auburn. Matthew Emmons/US Presswire

Longtime NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle was a master of public relations, in large part because he understood the difference between having good character and having a good reputation.

Rozelle knew that if you have good character but possessed a bad reputation, you might as well have bad character because you weren't going to be given the benefit of the doubt with regard to your actual character.

This mindset is worth remembering when reviewing the NFL draft case of former Auburn Tigers standout defensive tackle Nick Fairley.

Fairley has been frequently described as a lazy, cheap shot artist who stepped up his game only in high-profile moments last year. Those are very strong accusations, which you'd think would be backed by a pile of tape. But after reviewing a slate of Fairley's 2010 contests, it's quite clear that the metrics do not concur with most of these damaging descriptions.