After picking Nick Fairley with the 13th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew met with the media to talk about their selection. Both discussed the thinking behind the pick and talked about how much they wanted Fairley. In fact, Mayhew called this a "dream scenario" for the Lions, which tells you how thrilled they were with being able to select Fairley.
Via the Detroit Lions, below is a transcript of what Schwartz and Mayhew had to say on Thursday night.
Head Coach Jim Schwartz
On the Fairley pick
"Obviously very excited to have him. There were a lot of scenarios - I think Martin just covered - a lot of scenarios that we went through, one of which was four quarterbacks going in the top 12. We needed something like that to happen to push a player like Nick Fairley to us. You saw, I guess it was a couple months ago, a lot of people had him at the top or near the top of a lot of mock drafts and there's a reason - because he's really good. The talent was so much that it didn't give us any hesitation to draft him."
On if there is room for three great defensive tackles
"Well, we play 130 defensive tackle snaps in a game. So, if we're rotating three guys through and they're playing 45 snaps apiece ... No. 1, there'll be a little bit of pressure. We can keep rolling waves and waves.
"We probably - even Ndamukong Suh - probably played a little too much for us last year. Not that he wore down, but it was too many snaps in there. You're taking on 700 pounds of man every time you take on a double team and things like that.
"The philosophy here was: we're drafting to our strength. Defensive line is a strength of what we do. We won our last four last year and you can have probably a quiz show to find out who our corners were in those games, but we were good up front. Being good up front is what drives our defense. We have players that could be an impact player for us at a position. We didn't worry too much about what his playtime was going to be. We knew where he was on the board for us, how much we liked him and he fit really well, so we didn't hesitate to make the pick."
On Fairley's dominant college career
"He's an impact player at an impact position. Dominated games at times; dominated a lot of games like Ndamukong Suh dominated. Turned that Texas game on last year and Ndamukong Suh was dominating the game - turned LSU game on this year. Turn the National Championship game on. The stakes are higher than any other college football game and this guy played the best on the field."
On if he plans to draft to some of their weaknesses in the later rounds
"We'll see. I mean, we'll see what players are there and how they shake out. You can worry about your weaknesses, you can find a way to put strengths on your team. It's maybe a little different way to look at it. We understand where we have spots on the team where we need to keep making progress. There's spots on the team that we need to address, but I also think you can make some mistakes this time of year if you worry too much about those."
On if he's concerned about why Fairley slipped from potentially No. 1 to No. 13
"Well, one of those scenarios was the situation at quarterback. I mean, how many people back then were putting four quarterbacks in the top 12. Probably zero. I think that was a real dynamic in this draft - teams that didn't have any that needed to get one and they didn't waste any time trying to get one. I think that might have added to it. I think another thing was the depth at the defensive line position. A player like Marcell Dareus got drafted up there very high and he's an outstanding player. Combine those things - I really can't explain why he was there, but we're very happy to have him."
GM Martin Mayhew
"Nick Fairley - outstanding player. In our mock draft yesterday, we went through some scenarios and we were hopeful that he would fall to us. We felt like the need for quarterbacks might push him down some. He was very high on our draft board and I think he really helps our defensive line - our defense as a whole. Very physical guy. He gives our defense a physical presence and we have a great tandem - actually three great defensive tackles with Corey Williams, Suh and Nick Fairley."
On where he will play those guys
"That's up to the coaches. They'll all play. I think it's great to have three of them because they can stay fresh. Ndamukong played over 950 plays last year, which is a lot of plays. But it helps our pass rush to have those guys be fresh. It helps our run game. It helps our defense as a whole to have three guys who can play that way."
On some teams complaining that Fairley didn't interview well
"He was an outstanding interview - great with us. I know his defensive line coach from Auburn - he and I played together, Tracy Rocker - Tracy speaks very highly of the young man. I spent a lot of time with him when he was here in the building and I think he's a good player and a good person. He's going to fit in here well. We've got great leadership in that room so I'm excited about working with him."
On him saying at the Combine that the defensive line fits with the defensive philosophy and if that's why they wanted to shore that up
"Right, absolutely. I mean, we're building our team that way. We've got some great players up front right now and to be able to add a player like Nick Fairley to that group - it really helps our defense."
On if they can ever have too many defensive linemen
"I don't think so. I don't think so. Pass rushers, defensive tackles, defensive ends - I think we all saw last season, late in the year, the impact that our defensive line had on our defense. It allowed us to win some games."
On if it was a unanimous decision in the room
"Absolutely and we talked about several other guys. But in our, sort of, dream scenario, it was Nick Fairley falling to us."
SB Nation has full coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft at its NFL Draft hub and NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft. For more on the Detroit Lions, make sure to check out Pride Of Detroit and SB Nation Detroit's NFL Draft StoryStream.