The question at left tackle for the Detroit Lions has evidently been answered, and a former first-round pick will be covering Matthew Stafford‘s blind-side in former Iowa Hawkeyes star Riley Reiff, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Lions were not able to add one of the elite tackles in the draft, so it will be Reiff who is tasked with replacing Jeff Backus at LT.
Ideally, the Lions wanted to get a guy like Eric Fisher and then kick Reiff into the guard spot (right guard, that is). The opinion from the Lions on where to play Reiff and, thus, how to handle the tackle position evolved, based on the reports that came out on the subject. They were debating whether or not to shift Reiff over to the left side or to kick him inside at RG, and it seems like the Lions plans with Reiff would always be based on what they would do in the draft. Since they didn’t come away with a tackle, the natural decision was to move Reiff to left tackle.
Jim Schwartz delivered an interesting quote that confirms the decision, “We drafted him as a left tackle. Probably with the way things ended up here, we’ll probably start him off there. We have a lot of confidence in him. I mean, that’s why we drafted him last year.”
The constant knock on Riley Reiff is his short arms, and many believe that he is indeed a better fit at guard or at right tackle due to his lack of athleticism. The Lions are apparently confident that Reiff can be a left tackle for them, and Schwartz is high on Reiff’s draft slot being an indicator of his ability to play LT. We’ll see if Reiff can make the transition and make this move pay off for the Lions, because it seems like the Lions wanted this to happen after drafting solid guard Larry Warford to slot in at RG. Jason Fox is the Lions current starting right tackle, and the Lions are banking on Reiff being able to develop into a starting-caliber left tackle in year two.
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