NFL Draft 2012: Riley Reiff and Offensive Linemen Your Team Needs

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05:  (L-R) Trey Stross #86 and Riley Reiff #77 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrate after Iowa won 24-14  against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL draft is not as deep at many skilled positions as it usually is, but there are plenty of offensive line prospects to be had.

While teams are wasting high picks on overrated quarterbacks and wide receivers, you should be hoping that the squad you root for comes home with one of these three stellar offensive linemen.

All of the following players will be Pro Bowl-caliber players in the NFL, so be happy if any of them fall to your team in the first round.

 

Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

In my opinion, the best offensive lineman in this draft is Riley Reiff from Iowa. At 6’6” and 300 pounds, Reiff is athletic enough to play any spot on the line.

The Iowa standout is also country strong, which would make him an ideal franchise blindside tackle. Reiff has the potential to be one of the best in the business.

With many teams reaching early for skill positions, there is a chance that Reiff could fall all the way into the mid-first round, where a team like the Buffalo Bills can’t pass on him.

If Buffalo is series about Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback of the future, it’s time to start protecting him like his health actually means something to the franchise. That means taking Reiff.

 

Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Jonathan Martin #55 and Richard Sherman #9 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after they beat the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The duty of protecting Andrew Luck is intense, but nothing more than another day at the ballfield for stellar tackle Jonathan Martin. Martin lives for the big moments.

While all of the focus will be on Luck and his passing, it is the extra time he has in the pocket that allows him to make his plays. Martin was the protector of Luck’s blindside and one of the best tackles in college football.

If Martin is still on the board when the Kansas City Chiefs pick at No. 13, they have to grab him to secure their terrible offensive line.

With a few picks on the offensive line through the draft and a few offensive line moves in free agency, the Chiefs could build around Martin and finally protect Matt Cassel.

 

David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 17:  Guard David DeCastro #52 of the Stanford Cardinal during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinal defeated the Wildcats 37-10.  (Photo by C
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There is no better guard in the 2012 draft than David DeCastro from Stanford. DeCastro is another part of the vaunted offensive line that protected Andrew Luck throughout his career.

DeCastro has the size, strength and power to be a stellar NFL offensive lineman, but more time with a great offensive line coach will allow him to fix some of his flaws.

While DeCastro can be exposed in pass coverage at times, if he went to a team like Philadelphia in the first round, a legendary line coach like Howard Mudd would have the kid a star in no time.

Philadelphia could slide DeCastro to left guard and move Todd Herremans to the right tackle position that the Eagles have lacked at for too long.

 

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