Even though the Detroit Lions decision to draft Nick Fairley in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft was a surprise, pairing him with DT Ndamukong Suh really made Detroit Lions fans excited. Now Fairley will miss much of the NFL pre-season due to a foot injury he had surgery on this week. That will seriously detract from his impact on this roster in his rookie year, but I have got to wonder how much impact he was going to have in year one anyway. With the Lockout eating up all of his developmental time it seems likely right now that Fairley was not going to start, and Corey Williams who performed well last year would be the starter next to Suh.
Of course Fairley was going to be in the rotation, and Lions head Coach Jim Schwartz likes to use a rotation at DT and that would have been awesome. However, DT is a very deep position for the Lions, and of course that begs the question if the really needed to use a first round pick on another one. Draft picks are a big deal in Detroit as the team has been awful and/or rebuilding draft day was the one day it was good to be a Lions fan. Of course former GM Matt Millen squandered nearly a decade’s worth of draft picks and Lions fans will not accept any more failing high in the draft.
In the end Fairley is a nice piece to have, but I do not think he is essential to this team’s success in 2011. Hopefully he plays, learns the speed of the NFL game and is a viable player down the road, but for now Lions fans should rest easy as this team still looks very good. That is of course if they can keep QB Matthew Stafford healthy this year.
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