The Detroit Lions were one of two teams (the Cincinnati Bengals were the other) to receive an A- in Mel Kiper's 2011 draft grades. No teams were given a grade higher than that, and aside from the Lions and Bengals, every NFL team received a grade of B+ or lower.
Kiper broke down his 2011 NFL Draft grades into three categories: needs, value and overall. The Lions only got a C+ for how well they filled their needs, which isn't exactly a huge shock. They drafted based on the talent available rather than what their needs were, which is why Kiper gave Detroit an A+ for the value category. He was impressed with the value of the Lions' picks so much that he called Fairley "perhaps the steal of the draft" and mentioned that Titus Young, Mikel Leshoure and Doug Hogue all could have gone earlier than they did.
For the Lions' overall grade, Kiper gave them an A-. He openly wondered if it was possible to "love" a draft where major needs were not filled. Since free agency is set to take place later this offseason, Kiper said to ask him once signings commence and the Lions make some moves. If they do address needs in the secondary and at linebacker during free agency, this draft will look even better because there will be so much additional talent on the roster going into next season.
While Mel Kiper's opinion doesn't necessarily mean much, nor does an immediate reaction to picks that will take possibly years to develop, it's nice to see the Lions getting some love nationally.
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.