The Detroit Lions selected offensive tackle Riley Reiff with their first round pick at 23. Many fans were hoping for a corner like Stephon Gilmore (I was very pro Gilmore) or Dre Kirkpatrick for the Lions. However, if the Lions traded up to number ten they would’ve given up too much for Gilmore and if the Lions traded for Kirkpatrick they would not have gotten the value they have with Reiff.
By not trading up, the Lions have all their picks still in tact, as well as a top offensive tackle. Reiff was projected as high as number ten in some mock drafts. For Reiff, a top ten player, to fall to the Lions at 23 was a steal. Not only do the Lions get great value in Reiff, but also need. The Lions have drafted their offensive tackle of the future and have an immediate upgrade for their aging and struggling offensive line. Reiff is very versitile, playing multiple postions in college. Look for Reiff to replace the inconsistent Stephen Peterman or Gosder Cherilus.
Reiff and the Lions are a perfect fit. Reiff can learn the system while getting significant playing time on the right side of the line while Jeff Backus finishes out his contract. This takes the pressure off of Reiff protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford’s blind side from players like Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, and Jared Allen twice a year as a rookie.
With that said, the Lions still have a lot of work to do the next two days and for the remainder of the off season. The Lions need to upgrade their defensive backfield and add offensive and defensive lineman. The Lions have struck gold in drafting Reiff, but there is still much more work to do.