Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew says defensive tackle Nick Fairley, the team’s 2011 first-round draft pick, has to get better.
“He could play more consistently,” Mayhew told the Detroit Free Press. “I mean, he’s got to mature a little bit as a professional, I think. I think that’d be a big step in him playing more consistently.”
Fairley has been fine, but not great. He also suffers by comparison with the players drafted around him: Of the 16 players selected in the first half of the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, the only ones who haven’t been chosen to a Pro Bowl are Fairley and quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert. That was a loaded draft, and when you consider that Mayhew selected Fairley one pick before the Rams selected All-Pro defensive end Robert Quinn, you realize why Mayhew may have some buyer’s remorse on Fairley.
When Fairley is on, he’s a disruptive defensive tackle. What the Lions need is for Fairley to be on every play, every game.