Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is known for his ability to “develop” defensive talent in preparation for “specific roles.” He’s flourished in the development role everywhere he has been.
It should be noted that under Schwartz’s tutelage in Tennessee, Haynesworth was widely regarded as the most dominant defensive tackle in the league—a title now owned by the run stuffing, quarterback assassin Ndamukong Suh.
In the 2011 NFL Draft, adamant on selecting talent over need, the Lions walked away with the one of the drafts greatest talents, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
If I had to compare Fairley’s abilities to another defensive tackle in the NFL it would be Detroit’s own Ndamukong Suh. Suh and Fairley are high-motor football players that boast a merciless seek and destroy mentality.
I believe that the Lions are looking at the same impact that the 49ers enjoyed in the mid-to-late 90’s with the dominant duo of defensive tackles Bryant Young and Dana Stubblefield.
You throw in the combination of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril from the defensive end positions, and you’ve got a recipe that will significantly alter opposing offensive game plans in 2011.
Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz have collaborated to build one of the most dominant front four in the NFL.
Here are my statistical projections for Detroit’s “starting” front four in the 2011 NFL Regular Season.