NFC North Notes: Fairley, Packers, Bears

Pro Football Weekly’s 2011 scouting report of draft prospect Nick Fairley included notes such as “has underachiever tendencies” and “needs to be pushed and is not a self-starter.” Three years after the Lions drafted him 13th overall, motivation is still an issue for Fairley, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract because the team declined his fifth-year option. Why? “The Lions had grown weary of Fairley’s fluctuating weight and inconsistent play and saw this as a last chance to motivate their talented defensive tackle who’s shown far too few flashes of brilliance on the field,” according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. In response, Fairly has trimmed down approximately 25 pounds in an effort to have a strong season and increase his value on the open market.

Here’s some more news and notes from around the NFC North division, starting with another prominent defensive tackle:

  • Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji accepted a one-year, “prove it” deal to return to Green Bay, in part, because he will return to his more natural nose tackle position, says Tyler Dunne in the Journal Sentinel.
  • The Packers appear to be transitioning versatile defensive back Micah Hyde to safety in an attempt to get their best personnel on the field, reports Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Colt Lyerla will be one of the most watched undrafted free agents in the league this summer because his physical ability and impact potential is legitimate. Though his checkered past means he’s on a perilously short leash in Green Bay, the team is making a concerted effort to foster mutual trust and an environment in which Lyerla can develop without distraction, writes Dunne.
  • Lance Briggs has the Bears’ weak-side linebacker job on lock, but the other two linebacker spots are question marks. ESPN’s Michael C. Wright thinks veteran D.J. Williams will man the middle with second-year flash player Jon Bostic will beat out Shea McClellin on the strong side.
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