Detroit Lions 2011 NFL Draft Review

After Nick Fairley dropped to the Lions at thirteen, there was no hesitation to draft him because of his talent level. Head Coach Jim Schwartz said “we stayed with our board. We can’t get overwhelmed by the immediacy of some specific needs.” General Manager Martin Mayhew said, “It helps our defensive line. We have a lot of good young defensive linemen too. I feel really good about this.” He continued, “We look for value in the draft and there was no pressure to do anything else.” Nick Fairley joins Ndamukong Suh as the only two back-to-back Lombardi Award winners drafted by the same team. He was a one year starter after transferring from junior college. He has long arms and measurables for the position. He pushes the pocket as an inside pass rusher and gets his long arms up in the throwing lane. A disruptive penetrator, he can beat a hesitant offensive lineman. He can be explosive and aggressive fighting to beat a block. He demonstrated the strength to overpower a center or guard with strength or beat them with quickness. He plays angry with a nasty disposition. Fairley could not have been drafted by a better team to reach his full potential playing next to Suh and other high motor defensive linemen. Titus Young was drafted in the second round to complement and take pressure off of Calvin Johnson. In his career he started 26 games, caught 204 passes for 3063 yards, and scored 25 touchdowns. Young is an explosive sure-handed receiver who can make the deep over shoulder catch and can pluck the ball away from his body. He is sudden in and out of his route cuts and has the speed to get behind the secondary and make a big play. He has quick feet to avoid press coverage and plays fast with a burst up the field after he snatches the ball in his hands. He will also help the Lions as a kickoff return specialist. In 2009 he returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns. Mikel Leshoure was drafted on day two of the draft as a change up to last year’s first round choice, Jahvid Best. Similar to the move up in 2010 to secure Best, Martin Mayhew moved up in the second to draft the big back from Illinois. The trade details are as follows: Seattle traded its 2nd round (57), 5th round (157), and 7th round (209) picks for Detroit’s 3rd (75), 4th (107), 5th (154), and 7th (205) round picks. Leshoure was productive between the tackles and a downhill runner. A strong short yardage runner, he can move the pile with his lower body strength. He is not easy to tackle and is an impact north/south runner. He has good feet and body lean with his pad level down. An effective receiver on swing passes and wheel routes, he needs work on pass protection – he is willing, but just needs technique refinement. Doug Hogue was a two-year starter at linebacker after moving over from the offensive side of the ball where he played running back. Productive with 167 tackles over the past two years, he is a tackling machine that is always around the ball. He has sideline to sideline effort to get in on a play and will be an immediate asset on all special teams. Johnny Culbreath is a developmental offensive tackle from South Carolina State who was chosen with the 209th overall pick in the final round of the NFL Draft. A four-year starter with good size and athletic ability, he demonstrates flexibility and the ability to bend. The Lions were present at his workout where he gave as positive an impression as he did on tape. He has the frame to carry more weight. Information from his pro day on 3/31/11 is as follows: 6051, 322, 4.99/40, 1.86/10, 27/BP, 30.5/VJ, 9-0/BJ, 4.83/ SS, and 7.76/3 cone. GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE.

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