First round pick Riley Reiff brings youth and versatility to the Lions offensive line

Posted Jul 11, 2012

When Riley Reiff was selected as the Lions' first pick (23rd overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, his youth and versatility were key factors in their decision.

Detroit is returning their entire offensive line for the third consecutive season and with many veteran players, Reiff’s youth is exactly what the line needs.

Reiff has experience at both guard and tackle and his size has never been a factor in his athleticism. Reiff attributes his quick feet and hips to his wrestling background.

"Wrestling brings out a mental wellness, the training, the dedication you have to put in and as an offensive lineman it helps you with your feet, your hips and using your hands well. I attribute a lot of my success to my wrestling background."

With guys like Gosder Cherilus and Jeff Backus, Reiff is able to learn from those veteran players and has already made a quick transition.

“The transition has been good. It’s a different playbook, different terminology but I’m picking up on it fast and I keep moving forward.”

“The whole offensive line has really helped me out. Goz has been helping me a lot. I’m really thankful for them keeping me on track.”

When the Lions took Cherilus in the 2008 NFL Draft, that was the last time they took an offensive lineman in the first round until Reiff. No mistakes there.

Reiff finds that his strengths are equal on both run blocking and pass protection. “Nowadays you have to be able to do both."

Coming from a small town in South Dakota of roughly 2,000, Reiff comes to Detroit with a very humble demeanor.

“It doesn't matter what position I play. Wherever I play, I play. I just think wherever I can help the team out I’d be glad to.”

Reiff said he believes he can play anywhere on the offensive line with the exception of center. His openness and eagerness to come out and compete will be a great contribution to the line.

"It was a great feeling when the Lions said they were going to draft me. I told them I am going to work hard and be a great football player for them."