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Fairley celebrates lucky No. 13

Nick Fairley had to wait longer than almost anyone expected to hear his name called in the first round of the NFL draft. But he offered no complaints.

Nick Fairley says he wasn't disappointed about going No. 13/Todd Van Emst photos

In fact, he welcomed the wait.

The Detroit Lions made Fairley the No. 13 pick Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall. He was expected to be a top 10 pick.

“Actually, I’m just happy,” said Fairley, who won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top defensive lineman/linebacker last season. “I’ve been telling everybody that, even though I went No. 13, it’s my No. 1 pick. I’m ready to go; I can’t wait to get to the ‘D’.”

Fairley will join Ndamukong Suh, the 2009 Lombardi winner, on the interior of the Lions’ defensive line. The two have already talked.

“He gave me some great pointers,” Fairley said. “For me to be next to him, he will hopefully take me under his wing and show me the ropes as a rookie.”

Fairley said he expects the challenge of a lifetime.

“I’m ready to go in there and get the work done and put the hard work and time into it, on the field and in the film room,” Fairley said. “Once I get there, I just can’t wait to see what happens.”

Fairley, from Mobile, played at Copiah-Lincoln Community College before arriving at Auburn in 2009. He became a dominant pass rusher and run stopper in his second season at Auburn.

Fairley had 60 tackles, including an Auburn record 24 for losses. He had 11.5 sacks and finished his Auburn career by being named defensive MVP in the Tigers’ 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game.

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