The Detroit Lions struck gold in the 2011 NFL Draft, thanks in large part to the run on quarterbacks in the early first round. Because quarterbacks were in demand, Nick Fairley fell all the way to No. 13, where the Lions happily scooped him up. When he gets to Detroit, he'll step right in alongside Ndamukong Suh in the middle of the Lions' defensive line. The two form one of the more impressive young defensive tackle tandems.
Remember when Nick Fairley was the most dominant defensive player in the nation's toughest conference, even carrying the eventual national champions in games when their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback faltered? The NFL might not.
Fairley got nailed with a dreaded label in pre-draft evaluations: "character risk." Scouts worried about his dirty play at Auburn and his lack of maturity. That's all well and good, but that character didn't seem to impede Fairley at Auburn: he had 12 sacks as a junior in 2010, including three against LSU and two at Alabama. If his talent can outshine whatever dark side he might have, Fairley could be a force inside on the defensive line.
The highlights from that performance against LSU are definitely worth watching, too. Fairley cuts through a team with a lot of skilled, well-built linemen with ease.
For more on Fairley's new home, check out SB Nation's Pride of Detroit.
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