Fisher thinks the Lions could have one of the best D-lines in the nation

Posted Aug 10, 2011

In each of the past two drafts, the Detroit Lions have selected a defensive tackle in the first round. They have signed a top free agent at the same position and another at defensive end.

Sprinkle in trades, developmental players and one starter who was already in Detroit, and the Lions have what is regarded as one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.

Jeff Fisher, who has been visiting Lions training camp this week, compared the current line to the one he had in Tennessee.

"We didn’t have Suh," he said. "We didn’t have Fairley. Obviously we had Kyle when Kyle was playing very well and we had a great rotation. There were a lot of similarities between the two defensive line coaches.

"Obviously it’s early – they haven’t played – but this group staying healthy could be one of the top groups in the country, I think."

The approach of taking the best players available has proved well for Head Coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew, now in their third year of working together.

They haven't been afraid to select talented players in positions where they already have talented players and the result has been a growing depth.

"There’s a great deal of depth here," said Fisher, "and we didn’t have the depth that they have."

The Lions have also invested in their back seven, bringing in linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans during Fisher's tenure.

"I think that’s a great sign," said Fisher. "Stephen is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker. Stephen will come step right in and understand what he’s doing. He was one of our defensive leaders for the last couple years."

When the Titans selected Tulloch, Fisher, Schwartz and Dave McGinnis were his biggest recruiters.

Fisher says that, after the first day of the draft, the three of them reviewed film of Tulloch before presenting their case the following morning.

Ultimately, the Titans went with Tulloch.

"Jim has been a Tulloch fan for a long time," said Fisher.