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Fairley shocking DL developments in Detroit

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Posted April 28, 2011 @ 11:39 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Let me get this straight … you could see Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Nick Fairley and Kyle Vanden Bosch on the field at the same time?

Warning to opponents: Don't get into too many 3rd-and-9s against the Lions. That's free advice.

Beyond that, it's up to them to figure out how to block these guys.

Any worry about how you can get all these guys on the field at once? Not for head coach Jim Schwartz.

"Well, we play 130 defensive tackle snaps in a game," Schwartz said Thursday night. "So, if we're rotating three guys through and they're playing 45 snaps apiece … No. 1, there will be a little bit of pressure. We can keep rolling waves and waves."

It really is phenomenal, isn't it? Now Fairley is no slam-dunk star. He has been called undisciplined, a bit lazy and too full of himself.

And considering their reputations, Suh and Fairley could lead the NFL in personal-foul penalties. Some might call them dirty. But what you can't say is that he isn't talented or didn't dominate in the SEC. It's the Cam Newton argument: Yeah, he did it for only one season, but did you watch that one season? My goodness.

Back to that 45-snap-a-game thought for a minute. Consider this snippet from Pro Football Weekly's 2011 Draft Preview, about Fairley as written by draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki: "(He) will require a very nuanced, demanding positional coach and might need to be limited to 40 snaps per game to maximize his talent."

And here's one more nugget further down in the evaluation on Fairley: "The more highly he is drafted, the greater the likelihood that he will bust, as a big payday easily could sap his motivation."

Problems solved. Exhibit A: Lions DL coach Kris Kocurek, an old-school fireballer, will get under Fairley's skin and push him hard. The second point about the limited snaps, that problem will be solved. And the third remark is moot because Fairley slid about 6-8 picks lower than most expected.

Game, set, match. This pick has too much not to like about it. The Lions really could not have expected this kind of fortune.

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