Since being drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions, Nick Fairley has shown both flashes of absolute brilliance and total ineptitude in his still-young professional career. However, going into 2014, it appears that he could be poised to finally play up to the expectations that made him the best defensive tackle available in his draft class.
When the Lions decided not to pick up Fairley’s fifth-year option, they sent the young defensive tackle a clear message: it’s time for him to prove he can play up to his potential, or he will find himself out of a job come 2015. So far, that’s a move the appears to be working.
Fairley has lost 27 pounds, and has put in a lot of work this offseason to get into better shape for the upcoming season. It’s that improved work ethic that has many, including myself, excited to see his progress come 2014.
With all that said, there are still question marks with Fairley. There’s a chance that he plays well this season, earns himself a massive contract, then resorts back to his old ways. However, if this offseason is any indication, Fairley appears to have actually changed his working habits for good, and that’s something that should allow the Lions to rest much easier.
Overall, Fairley appears primed for a big season in 2014. For a defensive tackle with all the talent in the world, an offseason of hard work and dedication should allow him to really prove himself as one of the best at his position. It looks like he could be putting it all together this offseason, and if everything goes well, he could finally become the player the Lions thought they were getting when they spent a first-round selection on him.