How Far Is Martin Mayhew Willing to Take the "Best Player Available" Strategy?

Dave MContributor IIApril 29, 2011

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Da'Quan Bowers #93 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, the Lions surprised everyone by taking DT Nick Fairley from Auburn.

It is the second time in two years that the Lions take a DT who also happens to be the Lombardi Award winner in college football from the previous season. For those who are unaware of what the award is, it goes to the best lineman or linebacker in college football.

If the pick pans out, it undoubtedly will give the Lions the best defensive line in the league and their very own version of the vaunted "Williams Wall" that has plagued the NFC North for so long.

It's clear now more than ever that Martin Mayhew cares very little about needs at other positions or positional value. It seems like no matter the situation, Mayhew will take the best player on the Lions' board.

However, here's a fun situation to think about going into the second round of the draft on Friday evening: What happens if defensive end Da'Quan Bowers falls to the Lions?

It's possible that, because of Bowers' knee injury and the potential for micro-fracture surgery, that the Lions have taken him off their board completely. This would go directly against what Mayhew said earlier in the week, however, and thus seems unlikely to be the case.

Bowers was considered to be a top-five talent, just like Nick Fairley, before the combine in February. He has slipped all the way to the second round at this point and is only 12 short picks away from the Lions' selection at No. 44 overall.

The Lions couldn't possibly take another defensive lineman to bolster what is already the strongest unit in the league, could they?

We may find out Friday night just how serious Mayhew is about the "best player available" strategy.