Reiff, the second-best tackle available in the draft, said he wasn't even paying attention to the draft.
"I really didn't care to watch the T.V.," Reiff said. "I was just hanging out in the barn."
Obviously, the call he received was from Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and the coaching staff, who made Reiff the No. 23 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
"It was a great feeling when the Lions said they were going to draft me and I just told them that I'm going to work hard and be a great football player for them," Reiff said.
It's not surprising, really, that a farm boy from South Dakota, who played his college football in the corn fields of Iowa, wasn't interested in paying much attention to the glitz and glamour of the NFL Draft festivities in New York. Even if it did mean his livelihood for the next, say, 10-12 years.
Reiff is one of those country-strong offensive lineman. A former three-time state-champion wrestler, who seems more interested in coming to work and getting in the trenches than anything else.
The Lions think he can be their cornerstone at left tackle for years to come.
"Reilly is a left tackle; he fits the criteria for that position: athletic, former tight end, the guy was a three-time state-champ wrestler," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said of Reiff.
"He comes from a great tradition of offensive linemen at Iowa. He's a good run-blocker and he's a good pass-blocker. Even though he's still a young player, he'll still improve and take other steps, we're not drafting a guy that's a developmental player. He's a very experienced player; he's played at a high level in the Big 10 and we were very fortunate to be able to get him where we were."
Reiff started 29 games at left tackle in Iowa, but he's not just a one-trick pony. He also started seven at left guard and one at right tackle.
"No. 1, he's smart; No. 2, he's a good athlete; No. 3, he's big - that goes a long way," Schwartz said.
"He's not a mismatch as a run-blocker or as a pass-protector. We (weren't) taking a guy that you wanted to see something else from; we liked what we saw. He is multidimensional; I think that adds to his value."
The Lions were stunned Reiff was still availabie at No. 23. When he started to slip, they thought about trading up to get him, but then it became apparent he'd still be available at No. 23.
Over the last 10 years, there's been on average four offensive linemen selected before the 23rd pick. Reiff was the second-best tackle available in the draft behind USC's Matt Kalil, who went No. 4 to the Vikings, and the Lions got him at No. 23.
"He's one of the two guys we felt really comfortable with at left tackle," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said.
"Big, smart, tough guy; versatile. We think he can play four positions."
The Lions view him initially as a left tackle, and that begs the obvious question about
Schwartz said it was way too early to make any predictions on where guys will be playing five months from now. He said he'd let training camp and preseason games determine that.
"Having a guy in the pipeline to be able to play that position is very important to us," Schwartz said.
"Jeff Backus has been incredibly consistent for us; he's been extremely durable over the course of his career and we still think he has more left.
"We were very happy to get a talented player that was one of our best players on the board when we were able to pick, combining that with an area that we need to get young guys in the pipeline. I thought we were very fortunate."
Reiff is the first offensive tackle the Lions have taken in the first round since
"I'm going to come in and compete and hopefully learn from the guys and we'll see how it works out," Reiff said.
"Whatever happens happens. All I can really control is to go out there and work hard every day and it'll get settled."