Not many people expected Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley to slip all the way to the Detroit Lions at No. 13, but he did. One of those people was Lions head coach Jim Schwartz:
We did a lot of mock scenarios and Fairley falling to us was one of our ideals, though we thought it unlikely.
There have been many surprises so far in the draft, notably the Minnesota Vikings’ puzzling pick of Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder at No. 12. Many had the Lions tabbed to draft a cornerback; Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara and Colorado’s Jimmy Smith were both still available. But no one predicted the Lions being able to grab Fairley at 13.
Fairley was at one point the top player on most people’s boards, but there appeared to be some character concerns that scared teams off. Terry Foster of the Detroit News believes that Fairley can be successful in Detroit because his new linemate Ndamukong Suh won’t allow him to slack off:
If he does not play hard he will get an earful from Ndamukong Suh, who is a no-nonsense second-year man who wants to win. Fairley might fail elsewhere. He might get off to a slow start with the Lions, but he won’t fail because the Lions dressing room is strong enough to handle him.
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.