Number Seven – 2011
Selection/Position: Nick Fairley / Defensive Tackle
Draft position/School: 13th overall / Auburn
Tenure with Lions: 2011 – 2014
Lions statistics: 46 games played, 30 starts, 13.5 sacks
When the Lions selected Fairley in 2011, he seemed like the perfect partner for budding star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Along with defensive end Cliff Avril, the Lions had visions of boasting one of the most fearsome defensive fronts in the NFL. While Fairley had his share of splash plays in his four seasons in Detroit, he was plagued by inconsistency, poor conditioning, health concerns and a pair of arrests in 2012.
Despite having his fifth-year option declined prior to the start of the season, Fairley was enjoying a solid year in 2014 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Week Eight win over the Atlanta Falcons in London, England. He wouldn’t suit up for the Lions again.
Fairley spent the next three seasons with the then St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints. A serious heart condition prompted his release by the Saints in 2018, likely ending his NFL career.