Lions G.M. says Nick Fairley has to mature as a professional


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.

37 responses to “Lions G.M. says Nick Fairley has to mature as a professional

  1. Can’t help but wonder if his performance, or lack thereof is a result of the league’s joke of a testing policy for pot. Honestly, how many players are getting baked on a regular basis, and/or playing while stoned? Bet it’s a staggering number.

  2. Imagine how nasty that pass rush would be if they had taken Quinn over Fairley. You already had Suh to clog up the middle. Tsk, tsk….

  3. BJ Raji had maturity issues coming out of a BC, Nick Fairley had maturity issues coming out of Auburn. Why are we surprised that they still act like teenagers after getting paid? When you draft players like this you are forced to deal with it. Lions management wants Fairley to act like a professional? Maybe they need to start drafting professionals instead.

  4. If this kid ever decides to take the game seriously he will be a monster.

    As it is he has definitely underperformed his draft status. Especially with Suh next to him to draw off blockers.

  5. Most 20 year olds aren’t very mature. Give a 20 year old lots of money and all of a sudden they are expected to not only be mature, but professional also…c’mon man!

  6. I just hope he isn’t other Shaun Rogers, lions got rid of players like that, nick will be ok. And regarding that last commit about drafting professionals, wow that was short sighted and frankly stupid.

  7. So what does he have to like take an online course or something? For years now all we have been hearing is excuses and phony bologna evaluations from our Front Office to try and explain what they feel needs to be explained. I think the Lions mngmt needs to mature and grow up, they are the ones we need to be concerned about because they are the ones making all the big mistakes, Fairley is doing just fine at maturing into a professional. He just needs some better coaching and mngmt of the team. Just like every player needs in order for us to finally become a winner.

  8. Fairley graded out as ProFootballFocus’s 15th best Defensive Tackle I believe this year.

    I don’t think he’s a major worry for the Lions. They have other issues that need to be addressed before Fairley. Maybe he’s not an All-Pro, but he’s certainly been effective the last two years when healthy. He’s made some big plays, and while he can certainly make more, he’s still been effective. Although maybe it helps playing next to Suh…

  9. It’s not suprising, Fairley was considered a possible top 5 talent a few months prior to the draft, but his work ethic and maturity caused him to slip.

    It is also not surprising that it takes a few years for some of these young guys to take a few years to blossom into professionals.

    Some players make that transition, some don’t, only time will tell.

    Fairley is a quality starter right now, but it can be maddening knowing that he has the talent and potential to be equally as dominant as Suh is.

    If he had Suh’s drive and work ethic, those two together would be complete game wreckers, regardless of who was lined up at DE.

  10. Mayhew may have buyer’s remorse but he got exactly what he paid for, just as advertised. Fairly is the same unmotivated player that he was in college but has more money now. Maybe the new HC can get to him in ways that Schwartz couldn’t or wouldn’t. The same could be said of the rest of the team. If Caldwell doesn’t succeed, rapidemente, the entire organization, other than ownership, will be out on the curb.

  11. If you use statistics the majority of black athletes grew up in a single never married home. The same sex parent is the most important person in that child’s life. When a child does not have that influence you are going to have these types of issues. Is it the case every time ? No, but enough that it makes a big difference in society. Almost every I’ll of society can be traced back to the home

  12. Being an Auburn fan, I’ve tried to follow Fairley as a pro. Maybe someone in Detroit can speak better on this, but I think the team culture has been toxic. Running afoul of the law and stupid penalties appear to have been excused away. If Caldwell can change the culture and demand professionalism from the players, Fairley could be a great player.

  13. An obvious understatement by Mayhew, but isn’t this the history with the D-Line in the D? Literally the last high potential D tackle I can recall earning his keep on every play was Luther Elliss. At D end, it would have been Porcher. Even Vandenbosch needed blows frequently, but that was due more to his age/ability–he certainly gave all when he was in there. Hope Caldwell’s talk about accountability and motivation can have a positive impact.

  14. Can’t wait to see how well Caldwell’s reasoning with Fairley goes … lol.

    Maybe Mayhew is already preparing for how well that works by loading up on Fairley ahead of time … clearly not the coach’es fault.

    What a fiasco this team is.

    Sad. Wanna be a fan.

  15. Fairley’s been hurt and played hurt, so being healthy is more of a growth delay than his maturity. Fairley was drafted 13th and plays a different and less flashy position than the other players selected to the pro bowl in his draft class. He also was drafted a year after Suh, and McCoy.

    The Lions went from 23rd in rushing defense in 2011 to 6th in 2013. If Mayhew has buyer’s remorse for increased team productivity over individual pro bolws, than he’s not going to last much longer as a GM.

  16. All the talent in the world could’ve been in Detroit, but as long as the short-tempered, Napolean-complexed, hot-headed coach with no concern for any discipline on or off the field was there, they had no chance.

    Jim Caldwell is the anti-Schwartz, and should be a welcome change for Lions fans. I don’t know how you people put up with a guy like Schwartz for so long.

  17. Why do these guys keep drafting players with questionable work ethics is beyond me. Clowney is the same as this guy.

  18. Another case of supposed GMs doing their due dilligence (right Polian?). The Lions were enamored with Auburn’s defensive and an athletic player but ignoring all the red flags: out of control personal foul machine, lazy, fat, lazy, immature, oh and lazy.

  19. Not making an excuse, and I honestly don’t follow the Lions, but in some 4-3 defenses the DTs are divided between a “nose tackle” and an “undertackle”. The undertackle, or three-technique, decides to line up either off the guard or off the center, while the nose tackle always is a few inches from the center and has to eat up blocks.

    The undertackle, which I assume is Suh, is a more glamorous position, such that ANY spot in the trenches is glamorous. The nose tackle spends all day eating double teams. So wouldn’t that affect Fairley’s stats?

  20. lay off fairley. i have watched him make some great plays. he sometimes makes dumb moves like false starts, but he is definitely a playmaker who has affects scoring outcomes. he even, if you will recall, toddled into the end zone to score a touchdown this past season! that is definitely a career first for someone who plays his position! his heart is in the right place. he needs some coaching to remember to stay concentrated and not jump the gun, but that’s about all. some experience will fix that.

  21. This guy’s dirtiness is very underrated because he plays next to Suh. Fairley is a good player but has always been a cheap shot artist and a punk.

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