It was a bit surprising last spring when the Detroit Lions ignored some other areas of need and used their first draft pick on their area of greatest strength.
They took Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, even though they already had one of the NFL's more impressive defensive linemen, Ndamukong Suh, last season's defensive rookie of the year.
But using the 13th pick on Fairley looks pretty smart now, in the wake of Suh's two-game suspension for kicking a Green Bay offensive lineman last week. Fairley will have to pick up the slack against New Orleans and next week at home against Minnesota.
"I'm a competitor," Fairley told reporters this week. "I'm up for any challenge."
Fairley, who like Suh won the Lombardi Award as college football's best lineman, sustained an injury to his left foot before this season began, underwent surgery in August, and didn't make his first appearance in a game until Oct. 10. He has yet to collect a sack, but the Lions see a big role for him.