As I watched the first round unfold, and saw guys like Christian Ponder (Lol Vikings) and Jake Locker (not lol, but a reach) I saw Prince Amukamara being available at 13. I thought he fit the mold as a high-character, high motor player at a position of need. The fact that he was Suh's teammate at Nebraska didn't hurt either.
Then I started to realize that guys like Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers were available and thought maybe Mayhew keeps to his BPA style and takes one of them. Then the Lions turned in their card after being on the clock for all of 13 seconds it seemed like, and I had "Prince!!!!!!!!!!" typed and ready to send on my blackberry. Then Goodell uttered the most shocking words I had heard in months.
"With the 13th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions Select Nick Fairley. Defensive tackle. Auburn."
Wooo Prince Amuka......
Huh? Did they trade up to select Fairley? Are there two Nick Fairley's from Auburn in the draft? Did 5 teams miss their pick, and Detroit slid in front of them? Must sit down. Must sort thoughts.
At first, I was pissed. Another defensive tackle? A guy who took all those plays off in college? A guy who only had one big year? A guy who will be taking a pay cut to play in the NFL. (Yep, fuck you Auburn!) A guy at the deepest, most talented position on the team? Why?
I understand the thinking behind the best player available philosophy. At least I think I do. You saw how the Vikings dominated with the "Williams Wall". You take the best player available and work them into the rotation. You have potentially the most dominant young DT tandem ever. You make every OL coach on your schedule contemplate early retirement. You take a guy like Fairley who is a top 5 talent. Ok. I can get behind this.
Obviously, this is all predicated on finding linebackers and corners later in the draft, or free-agency (whenever that starts) because this was a luxury pick, plain and simple. This was taking a guy Jim Schwartz wanted that he didn't think would be available at #13.
So I will be watching the 2nd and 3rd round picks this evening, and will withhold my final grade until I see what they are able to do tonight. But in a vacuum, I give this pick an A.