Nick Fairley: A potential home run for Lions

April, 28, 2011
4/28/11
10:18
PM ET
If you had a choice between addressing a weakness or enhancing a strength, what choice would you make? There's no easy answer.

Fairley

Fairley


The Detroit Lions landed on the latter, and I can’t criticize them for it as long Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley proves inaccurate the character questions that caused his fall from the top 10. Because when you talk about a defensive line with a shaped-up Fairley, along with Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, Sammie Lee Hill and Lawrence Jackson, you’re talking about probably the best defensive line in football.

The Lions surely have needs at cornerback and outside linebacker, but an elite defensive line can cover up weakness in the back end much easier than the other way around. I still have no idea who the Lions will line up at three of their four secondary positions and two of their three linebacker spots, but I can tell you one thing: They’ve got a chance to have a lights-out defensive line.

“Nasty,” is the way Fairley described it on ESPN Radio.

General manager Martin Mayhew has drafted fairly predictably in his first two years in the job. He faced his first really difficult draft decision Thursday night, and we can only trust he feels comfortable with Fairley from a character standpoint. I wonder if he would have made this pick without strong personalities like Vanden Bosch and Suh already in the locker room.

The Lions aren’t in a personnel position to be flippant with their first-round picks. But if Fairley proves him right, it’s a home run for Mayhew.

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