NFL Draft 2012: Why Riley Reiff Doesn't End Detroit Lions Offensive Line Needs

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIApril 27, 2012

Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew has made it commonplace to take the best player available at each step of the NFL Draft process throughout his career.

Taking Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff at No. 23 could certainly be classified as a steal and he provides the kind of long term depth and security that Detroit so desperately needed at the tackle position.

The problem is that Detroit cannot yet afford to abandon the offensive line altogether as the draft progresses.

There are simply too many problems amongst the big men currently manning the front lines.

Right tackle Gosder Cherilus has been nothing more than average since being selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Left tackle Jeff Backus and center Dominic Raiola are both aging quickly and cannot be counted on for anything more than another year at best.

And don't even get me started on the atrocity that is Stephen Peterman at the guard position.

So what Detroit is left with is Reiff who can step in sooner rather than later, solid left guard Rob Sims and former fourth round pick Jason Fox who has been waiting in the wings for some time now.

Does this outlook really provide Detroit with the kind of long term security they need along the offensive front?

I would have to believe the answer is "No" and with the depth of offensive line prospects still available in the draft there is no reason they should have to.

Top prospects such as Stanford guard David DeCastro and the aforementioned Riley Reiff fell far below their top 15 projections..

That means the next level of guys like Georgia guard Cordy Glenn, Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin and Wisconsin center Peter Konz remain on the board past where their value dictates they should have been drafted.

These are prospects Detroit would be hard pressed to ignore if they are available when it is time to get to the podium at Radio City Music Hall.

The counter argument to this theory would be that Detroit may have more pressing needs than adding additional line help.

That is true.

The secondary is depleted of depth or great talent and the linebacking cupboard is surprisingly bare behind the starters.

Throw in the fact that the Lions have a revolving door at the running back position and you can see numerous areas that could use some serious help.

But it is still reasonable to suggest that Mayhew and the Lions will go back to the offensive line pool if the opportunity presents itself.

After all, one of those prospects may prove to be the best player available.