2011 NFL Draft Grades: Detroit Lions First-Round Analysis

Brenda SummersCorrespondent IIApril 28, 2011

Nick Fairley
Nick FairleyChris Trotman/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions took much of the Lions nation by initial surprise when they selected DT Nick Fairley in the first round of the NFL draft.

It isn't because Nick Fairley isn't a great player but that DT was not considered a high position of need by most mock drafts. The majority of Lions fans believed that the front office would go with a defensive player in the first round but did not highlight DT as one of the positions they thought GM Martin Mayhew or head coach Jim Schwartz would target.

It is now looking as if the Lions are looking to bolster their defensive line by pairing Ndamukong Suh with Nick Fairley. 

Selecting Nick Fairley makes it two years in a row that a DT was taken in the first round as Ndamukong Suh was taken in the first round last year.

What do we need to know about Nick Fairley? First of all, he is now part of what may be one of the most feared defensive lines in the NFL that includes: Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Sammie Hill, Cliff Avril, Lawrence Jackson (LoJack), Turk McBride and Corey Williams. What Lions fans thought was already a great defensive line just got better. 

This pick should strike fear in the hearts of the other three teams in the NFC North.

Nick Failey is considered to be the second-best DT in the draft. Marcell Dareus was ranked the top DT and was taken third overall by the Buffalo Bills. Fairley was the 2010 Lombardi Award winner and Nagurski Award finalist. He also had 12 sacks and one interception last year. Fairley stands at 6'4" and weighs 291 lbs.

One word used to describe Fairley is "dominant."

Nick Fairley was ultimately a great value at No. 13.

This will be the year of total dominance by the Detroit Lions defense. We'll see if there will be any more additions to the line or the secondary in the next two days. I expect that the offense will gain a player or two as well.

Overall grade: A - *


*I admit that I didn't see this one coming, but in hindsight I can see what Mayhew and Schwartz are creating. They believe in building a team that will be able to stop any offense they face. Carry on, Mayhew and Schwartz.