Rapid Reactions to Lions Selection of Nick Fairley

The Lions made Nick Fairley their 2011 first round pick. The pick was widely lauded in the SideLion Report NFL draft chat room, how is the pick viewed nationally?

Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki:

The rush to fill quarterback needs pushed Fairley down the draft board, along with concerns about his character. However, head coach Jim Schwartz knew how to get the most out of Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee and now could have the most disruptive pair of interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The key for Fairley will be limiting the number of snaps he plays and making sure veterans like Kyle Vanden Bosch can keep him focused.


What he brings: There are times on film when Fairley looks like he should be the No. 1 pick. He can explode off the ball, get into the backfield and bring ball carriers down as a run defender, and was the best interior pass rusher in the country last year because of his initial quickness and violent hands. The concern is his inconsistent motor. Fairley will face much more talented interior offensive linemen at the next level and won’t be able to skate by on natural ability. He is boom-or-bust, but worth the risk at this point.

How he fits: This certainly looks like a best player available pick because this is not a great need. The Lions best unit is the defensive line lead by Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril but obviously Fairley was too good to pass up. The Lions love to play a lot of games up front with loops and one-gap penetrating schemes and this gives them tremendous versatility with three dominating defensive tackles. As talented as Fairley is, he will be surrounded by a group of guys who will force him to play on every down. This could become one of the most productive units in the NFL.


This is a steal. He was the top player on my board. Now he plays next to Suh. Good luck handling that tandem for years to come.

Wes Bunting, National Football Post:

The Lions are on the up and up as they land, in my mind, the best defensive lineman in the class. Fairley is as talented as Ndamukong Suh was coming out of school last year and now he will be paired with him inside. Character concerns caused Fairley to fall a bit, but I can see him and Suh creating one of the better defensive line tandems in the league for a long time.

Draft Tek:

Wow. The Lions reportedly wanted to trade out but why? Pairing a guy that could have been the #1 pick with Suh? How will opposing OL stop them? I love this pick. It solidifies their DL & was great value.
Grade: A

NFL Mocks:

The Detriot Lions are starting to make some noise in the NFL as they have methodically assembled a team that is filled with superstar caliber players at multiple positions. With the addition of Fairley, they now have a defensive line that is without a doubt in the discussion among the best defensive lines in football.

Grade: A


All Matt Millen did was pick receivers. Now, all the Lions do is acquire high-priced defensive tackles.

I don’t like this pick much. Fairley is a one-year wonder with work ethic issues. I don’t like the idea of paying him a ton of money in a rookie signing bonus. Plus, passing up Prince Amukamara and Jimmy Smith is pretty questionable. (Pick Grade: C)

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Tags: Detroit Lions NFL Draft Nick Fairley

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