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Friday, April 29, 2011

Draft 2011, Day 1

With the 13th pick of the 2011 NFL draft the Detroit Lions take Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle, Auburn.

Now who saw that one coming? Rick Gosselin of the Dallas News did. He nailed that pick and 13 others in the first round. He was the only one I know of though, even the entries in my Lions draft contest (all 42 of them) missed the Lions taking Fairley or even a DT by any name for that matter. Most mocks had Fairley going in the top 10, most if not all actually.

Nick Fairley was ranked as the 7th best player in the draft on my board. www.optimumscouting.com had Fairly at #2. www.nationafootballpost.com had him 4th. www.thehuddlereport.com also had him at 7. The only one that didn't have him top 10 that I wrote down was www.profootballweekly.com who had him 14th.

Nick missed some meetings leading up to the draft and seems to have a few mild character concerns but with Suh and KVB on the team and on the line with him, the Lions DLine coach behind him and coach Schwartz above him, I don't foresee all that many issues to worry about... or at least, I hope there won't be any issues there to worry about.

The Lions is now projected to have perhaps the best defensive line in the NFL, both at starter and with backups added in. If all stay healthy {knock on wood} the Detroit Lions are going to have a defense to be reckoned with before they even start addressing the back 7.

The Lions made this pick despite an entire draft full of offensive tackles to choose from save one (Tyron Smith was taken by Dallas at 9) and despite there not really being a significant need at DT. In all likelihood they upgraded the roster spot about to be formerly held by Mr. Fluellen with the pick (sorry Andre). So when you got one of the Best Players Available and a roster spot for him... the trigger gets pulled. That's building a team with talent.

The best thing about the pick (if I'm being selfish) is that my opinion weeks ago that the Lions would NOT be drafting an offensive tackle in round 1 was totally correct. Granted I thought they might select a defensive end but then I never once, not even for a moment, thought that Nick Fairley would fall to the 13th spot in the draft. I didn't believe it at 2am on Thursday the 28th when I read Rick Gosselin's final mock draft... I didn't believe it when the draft started falling more or less exactly as the Goose said it would... and I still didn't believe it when Fairley was still on the clock after the 12th pick... not until I saw that the Lions pick was in (and thus no trade) and the commish was walking up to the mic did I finally believe it.

So now what? In roughly 16 hours from now the 2nd night of the draft begins with rounds 2 and 3. Who might the Lions select? Well, they may trade, up or down, but assuming they stay put in round 2 the Lions have had direct contact with guys like RB Mikel Leshore; LB's Akeen Ayers, Martez Wilson, Quan Sturdivant & Bruce Carter; WR's Titus Young, Torrey Smith, & Jerrel Jernigan; OG/OC Stefan Wisniewski; and DE/DT Christian Ballard. A few other names to watch out for but with little or no known contact would be: WR's Randall Cobb & Leonard Hankerson; OG's Clint Boling, Ben Ijalana & Rodney Hudson; and there are a few DTs that I won't bother mentioning now.

What surprise move will the Lions make in round 2? No idea. There is a good chance the pick will be one of the names listed above but that doesn't mean it won't be someone else. So pick your poison and tune in for the 2011 draft day 2 at 6pm eastern on Friday (today).

Oh wait, there is two rounds on Friday night. What about round 3? The list of contacts gets even longer. 3 DBs, 6 LBs, 2 RBs, 1 WR, 1 OG. That's nearly half the round right there. Needless to say, the Lions aren't done improving their team just yet. I just don't know if they'll be adding guys like G/C Wisniewski and LB Foster or WR Hankerson and RB DeMarco Murray or LB Wilson and LB Moch... or... yeah, lots of options.

I do know that Cutler, Rodgers and Ponder won't be looking forward to lining up against KVB, Suh, Fairley, and Avril this fall. If they say they are looking forward to it, that's probably a lie. I only know I am looking forward to it.

Welcome to the Detroit Lions Nick Fairley.

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