2012 NFL Draft Grades: Why Riley Reiff Is an A Pick for the Lions

Brandon BurnettContributor IIIApril 26, 2012

Say hello to the newest member of the Detroit Lions.
Say hello to the newest member of the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Lions had been strongly considering selecting a stud offensive lineman with their first-round pick.

That said, they weren't expecting offensive tackle Riley Reiff to fall into their laps at No. 23.

A 2011 first-team All-Big Ten selection, Reiff was widely regarded as the second-best tackle in the 2012 draft. He'll head to Detroit with the ability to contribute straight out of training camp while he's molded to become Matthew Stafford's primary pass-protector of the future.

At 6'5", 313 pounds, Reiff will be looking to overtake Gosder Cherilus for the starting right tackle position out of camp. However, one would have to assume the long-term plan for Reiff is to anchor the line at left tackle after the 34-year-old Jeff Backus retires.

Many thought the Lions should seek out a cornerback or pass-rusher with this selection, but it's a smart move to take Reiff off the board and find defensive help in the later rounds.

If there was to be a complaint regarding this selection, one could make a case that the Lions should have taken David DeCastro or Cordy Glenn at No. 23. Both of these prospects are impressive guards who could step in immediately and replace the disappointing Stephen Peterman on the right side of the line. 

Regardless, a chance to draft a tackle with the potential of Reiff in the latter half of the first round is not a common opportunity.

GM Martin Mayhew and the Lions get off to a great start in building their 2012 draft class.


Overall Grade: A