Riley Reiff

Draft Grades: Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions made significant strides in 2011, but have failed to make the necessary steps to build upon their playoff run. This draft class was an opportunity fill some holes, especially on defense, but GM Martin Mayhew failed to land any impact players on the defensive side of the ball.

Riley Reiff could have been a justifiable 1st-round pick if he filled an immediate need, but Lions don’t  have an immediate hole to fill on the offensive line. Jeff Backus may not have much time left in Detroit, however, so they could view Reiff as the future at left tackle. Unfortunately, Reiff does not project as an impact player on the left side, and would be better suited as a right tackle, where Gosder Cherilus appears to be entrenched.

Ryan Broyles is an intriguing prospect, but the 2nd round was far too early for an undersized receiver coming off a significant injury. This was the type of selection Lions fans thought they were free of when Matt Millen left the organization.

Dwight Bentley was also a reach in the 3rd round. He has some developmental value, but the Lions really needed to add an impact cornerback. Jayron Hosley and Brandon Boykin were both still on the board and are far more NFL ready than Bentley.

Ronnell Lewis has a chance to be a steal in the 4th round, but Lions will need to find the right place for him. In the 4-3 defense he could play end or strong-side linebacker.

Tahir Whitehead is a nice developmental prospect and was a solid value pick in the 5th round. He’ll likely compete for the backup role at strong-side linebacker.

Chris Greenwood was one of the Lions better selections. He’s raw and the level of competition is a definite concern, but his upside is undeniable. He may not provide much immediate help, but was well worth a flier in the 5th round.

Jonte Greene will compete with Bentley and Greenwood for playing time, but the Lions secondary is getting crowded. It’s unlikely that all three will be able to make the final roster cuts.

Travis Lewis is a great 7th-round pick. His upside is limited due to marginal athleticism, but he was a productive linebacker at Oklahoma and should be able to contribute as a backup and on special teams. He’ll likely compete with Doug Houge for the backup weak-side linebacker job.

The Lions failed to land any immediate help from this draft class, and the long-term value appears to be minimal as well. Reiff will likely earn a starting role eventually, but he is the only player from this class who realistically should be viewed as a long-term starter. This was a blown opportunity for the Lions.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Lions Leave a comment

Riley Reiff scouting report

Riley Reiff OT Iowa #77
Ht: 6’6″

Wt: 300

Prototypical height and overall size. Solid fundamentals; does a nice job staying low and using leverage to hold his ground against more physical defensive linemen. Strong lower body allows him to hold his ground against the bull rush. Excellent footwork; uses quick feet to recover when beat off the snap. Nasty run blocker; stays low and consistently drives his man back. Decent athleticism; has the ability to get to the second level. Strong hands/arms; does a nice job fighting off pass rushers with his upper body.
Quickness off the snap could be improved; when he gets beat, it’s often by a faster edge rusher who’s past him before he’s even able to get into his stance – may be viewed as a right tackle by some teams for this reason. Looks much more confident as a run blocker; more assertive in run blocking; seems hesitant and less comfortable dropping into pass protection. Not asked to move around much in Iowa’s offense; limited experience on screens, pulling, trapping, etc. Arrested in 2008 for public in intoxication and avoiding arrest; stopped by police while undressing in an alley and proceeded to lead them on a 20-minute chase on foot.
Reiff has all the physical tools necessary to start at the next level, potentially at left tackle. The only thing holding him back from elite prospect status is his somewhat limited athleticism, which will probably cause some teams to view him as a right tackle. Regardless of where he ends up on the line, he should be plugged into a starting role immediately and left there for the next decade.
2011 vs Oklahoma (bowl game)
2011 vs Nebraska 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 1 Comment