Aug 25, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff (71) during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Lions 31-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Name Riley Reiff Their Rookie of the Year

Riley Reiff wasn’t able to unseat Jeff Backus or Gosder Cherilus as a starter on the Detroit Lions offensive line but he still was able to have a positive impact on the offense as a rookie.

When the Lions were able to find some success running the football, Reiff was usually involved. One of the best things offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did this year was to get Reiff involved as a third tackle or jumbo tight end. It was a creative way to use the versatility that the Lions raved about during training camp when Reiff worked as both a tackle and guard.

Reiff did start one game at left tackle – the Thanksgiving Day game against the Houston Texans in place of the injured Jeff Backus. He played well enough that the Lions should feel comfortable if Cherilus leaves via free agency and/or they decide to move on from Jeff Backus as they work the salary cap this offseason.

The contributions of Reiff weren’t lost on his teammates. They voted him the winner of the team’s Mel Farr Rookie of the Year. The award is named for the former Lions running back who had one of the best rookie years in team history.

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