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Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Fairley in Poor Company with Three 2011 Draft Peers

The Detroit Lions’ selection of Nick Fairley with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft it was seen as a gift of an opportunity. After all, Fairley wasn’t supposed to be available, or so the experts thought.

Through three NFL seasons, Fairley has shown flashes of brilliance but battled injuries early on and had stretches where his impact wasn’t felt. It is those bad stretches that has him in some poor company as far as the 2011 draft class is concerned.

What does Fairley have in common with Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder? They are the only four players selected in the top half of the 2011 first round who haven’t made it to the Pro Bowl.

Ouch. It would seem Fairley is the most likely of the four to make it to the Pro Bowl but that will take translating potential into production on a more consistent basis. That is one of the chief issues new head coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will have to deal with if they are to realize the front office’s “win now” expectations.

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