ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Lions’ Nick Fairley ‘will have immediate impact’


The Detroit News

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, draft expert, has identified his early-impact players from the first round of last week’s NFL draft. And while Lions tackle Nick Fairley wasn’t among the top three players mentioned by Kiper, Fairley did warrant mention among Kiper’s “notables.”

“Nick Fairley will have an immediate impact, but it’ll be hard to say how much of it is him alone, particularly with Ndamukong Suh,” Kiper wrote. “But if they can work off each other early, look out.”

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Kiper’s top three early-impact defensive players from the first round were linebackers Von Miller of Texas AM (Broncos) and Aldon Smith of Missouri (49ers), and end Robert Quinn of North Carolina (Rams).

Kiper later revealed his immediate impact players from rounds 2-3, and his list included Lions receiver Titus Young of Boise State.

“Several teams took a hard look at him late in round 1, and Detroit saw a ton of value while passing on other needs, and I liked their decision,” Kiper wrote.

Prince Amukamara doesn’t fare well in ESPN stats analysis


Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

ESPN analyst JC Joyner thinks Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, a candidate to be selected by the Lions with the 13th pick, is rated far too high in this year’s NFL draft.

And he’s got data to prove it.

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Joyner broke down the statistics of Amukamara and some of the draft’s other corners and found that he lagged behind.

“In fact, his performance level placed him well behind some other cornerbacks that are considered borderline first-round choices,” Joyner wrote.

In the 10 games in which the Cornhuskers faced FBS competition (Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas AM, Colorado, Oklahoma and two games against Washington), Amukamara was targeted 37 times and gave up 17 completions for 297 yards (8.7 yards per catch average) with three touchdowns. On plays over 30 yards, Joyner notes that teams completed three of their four attempts against Amukamara for 161 yards.

Amukamara gave up 11 completions/defensive penalties in 20 vertical pass attempts, according to Joyner, which equates to a 45-percent success rate. That would have ranked 82nd in that category at the pro level last season. The 14.1 vertical yards per attempt (YPA) and 16.6 stretch vertical YPA would also have placed him in the bottom quarter of the league in those categories.

Joyner admits that Amukamara’s numbers were skewed by his performance against Oklahoma State star wideout Justin Blackmon (Blackmon went 3-for-6 for 144 total reception/penalty yards and a touchdown), but writes that even if you subtract that game, he still gave up a nearly 50-percent completion rate on all other passes.

Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith is considered another draft candidate for the Lions. In an eight-game sample (Colorado State, California, Hawaii, Georgia, Missouri, Baylor, Oklahoma and Nebraska), Smith was targeted 21 times and gave up eight completions for 73 yards, or a 3.5 YPA. He also had a 3.6 YPA on passes of more than 11 yards and a 2.3 YPA on seven passes of 20 yards or more.

“The Georgia game included two targets in which Smith was covering consensus No. 1 wide receiver A.J. Green, both of which fell incomplete,” Joyner notes.

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