Utica -The moment of truth finally arrived. The Lions were on the clock and the packed crowd at the Red Ox Tavern held its breath.
And then it came.
“With the 13th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft the Lions select Nick Fairley, defensive tackle from the University of Auburn.”
As soon as the words rolled off NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s lips the place erupted in cheers and jeers. Some loved the pick. Others gave it thumbs down.
“What about the offensive line,” one man screamed.
Others wanted cornerback Prince Amukamara to shore up the secondary.
One guy gave a lecture about how the offensive line, with aging Stephen Peterman, Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola, needed to be upgraded. Others said the defensive line was already strong.
All that is true, but many fans missed the point of selecting Fairley. He was a top 10 pick that slipped to the Lions, and in today’s NFL you must be solid on both sides of the trenches. Of the top 30 picks, 18 were either defensive or offensive linemen.