The NFL is allegedly a game won in the trenches.
|The presence of Nick Fairley beside Ndamukong Suh should provide an interesting -- if not impossible challenge -- to most offensive lines (Kevin Cox/US Presswire)|
The Lions nabbed Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley with the No 13 overall pick during the NFL draft's first-round on Thursday, just one year after the already storied addition of Ndamukong Suh, the draft's best tackle in 2010.
The pick was a surprise for two reasons: Fairley wasn't projected to fall that far in most mock drafts, and the Lions were thought to heavily covet a defensive back. But with the opportunity to create such a devastating defensive front, the Lions didn't hesitate.
Fairley's availability surprised even coach Jim Schwartz.
"We did a lot of mock scenarios and Fairley falling to us was one of our ideals, though we thought it unlikely," tweeted Schwartz.
The pair of Suh and Fairley, along with veteran Corey Williams, present a dilemma to opponents hoping to neutralize Detroit's defensive line pressure.
The 6-foot-3, 291 pound Auburn product tallied 11 5 sacks and 60 tackles last season, securing a consensus All-American nod and Rotary Lombardi award.
As of a month ago, Fairley was also a consensus top pick among most mocks. However, enthusiasm surrounding his potential was curbed with questions regarding work ethic. Those concerns, according to RoarReport com draft expert Josh Liskiewitz, are without merit.
"The character issues and 'laziness' questions are completely unfounded in my opinion," said Liskiewitz, "This is clearly a case of Detroit taking the best player left on their board, and is the most sensible pick since Dallas taking Tyron Smith at No 9."
Josh's instant analysis of the drafting of Nick Fairley:
Fairley was the most dominant college DT since well, Ndamukong Suh. He is explosive off the ball and has the strength to collapse the pocket on bull rushes. This will free up the DEs to rush the passer, as teams will need to obviously focus on Detroit's interior.
Fairley is actually better in run support too, and should also be able to kick out to LDE on run defense as well.