Fans may argue who exactly is the franchise player for the Detroit Lions.
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are possibilities on the offensive side, but I would argue that it is Ndamukong Suh because of his tenacity and performance on the defensive line. The team decided to shore up the line even further by selecting defensive tackle Nick Fairley out of Auburn with the thirteenth selection in the first round.
Like others in the NFL Draft, he undoubtedly slipped that far because of some murmurs that he is a dirty player and the possibility that he possesses some personality deficiencies. The SEC defensive player of the year might be the best performer on the team that produced the first overall selection in New York on Thursday.
By Patrick Herbert
Head coach Jim Schwartz maximized the potential of supposedly troubled Albert Haynesworth while both were in Tennessee and he looks to do the same with Fairley. The old adage is that, “you are the company you keep.” If this holds true, the work ethic and professionalism of Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch will push Fairley on a daily basis to solidify their standing as the top unit in the NFC North.
The Detroit Lions official site commented that conventional wisdom dictated that the organization should address some areas of concern in the secondary. Cornerback Prince Amukarama from Nebraska went to the New York Giants a few picks later. This would have been logical also, but sometimes the needs have to be weighed with talent disparities and Fairley certainly doesn’t lack that. ESPN had a sports science segment as part of their pre-draft coverage and Nick Fairley’s strength and explosiveness ranked at the top of the charts of anyone that they have ever analyzed.
Undoubtedly to the ire of some of the fan base, the team once again drafted a wide receiver. Titus Young of Boise State dropped down to the second round because he is shy of six feet and two hundred pounds. Some of his numbers may also have come from the pass happy system favored by head coach Chris Peterson. The competition in the WAC also is not top notch on a weekly basis. With that said, no selection in the second round is going to be perfect.
Mikel Leshoure was the team’s second selection in the second round. This fills a hole when Jahvid Best is down with his chronic turf toe issue or when he simply needs a breather on the sideline. The Illinois Fighting Illini must be doing something right in the development of their running backs. The production of Rashard Mendenhall along with this selection are evidence of this.
The courts have continuously waffled on the status of the lockout. One day the facilities are open and they are closed the next. Teams have to move forward as if games will start at the beginning of September. Look for the Detroit Lions to be the most improved team in the NFC North. Finishing anything less than .500 will be a disappointment.
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