The moment Roger Goodell uttered the words, “And with the 13th pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select; Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle, Auburn,” it became apparent that Detroit saw Fairley as a gift from the football gods, to build the meanest rotation of defensive tackles the NFL has ever seen.
Most mock drafts had Fairley going in the top 10, but some had him in the top three. His 2010 season was phenomenal, and he anchored the National Champion Auburn Tigers defensive front.
His only knock was that he’s only got one year of starting experience under his belt. But make no mistake, Fairley is a beast.
Detroit had arguably the best defensive tackle rotation in the NFL in 2010 with Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams and Sammie Hill. Now, adding Fairley to that mix is only going to keep all of them fresh and quick off the snap when they’re in the game.
Not to mention, Fairley will have a chance to grow next to a stand out vet in Williams and the 2010 Rookie of the Year in Suh.
Detroit has just drawn a line in the sand and made a statement to the entire NFL saying, “I dare you to run on us.”
It was said that this pick “will be the defining moment in Martin Mayhew’s career” by many of the pundits and observers in the sporting press.
From the perspective of an informed fan, I’d say he’s done a great job of sticking to his M.O. and continuing to take the best player on the board, regardless of that players position. In doing so, they are also staying true to another M.O. this organization has had since Jim Schwartz was hired in 2009.
“We are going to establish the run game, and we’re going to stop the run,” said Jim Schwartz in 2009.
I expect Fairley to help make Detroit the most feared defensive front in football.
Detroit now has four starting caliber defensive tackles, three of which can rush the passer from the inside, one of whom is a mammoth space-eating run stuffer, one who was the Rookie of the Year and all of which can be very explosive when fresh.
Detroit is doing exactly what they should be. Building defense, taking value and creating a front seven depth unrivaled in the NFL.
Granted, we still need two CB's to LB's but hey, Round 2 starts this evening. The fun is just beginning.