The Lions spent their first-round draft pick on Riley Reiff with the hope that he’ll succeed Jeff Backus as their starting left tackle after a year or two as their starting right tackle. So far they think he appears ready to follow that path.
Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan isn’t ready to say that Reiff will supplant Gosder Cherilus at right tackle — or when he might supplant Backus at left tackle — but all indications are that Reiff is ready to be a starter.
“It’s still early to say who’s going to play where,” Linehan said. “But Riley’s on track to play a lot of football for us really early. He’s an exceptional talent, and he’s a great kid. He’s going to really help us on our offensive line. Where he ends up this year really hasn’t been determined yet. But we’re just happy with what we’ve seen so far. We think he’s going to be a heck of a player.”
Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz noted that it’s tough to evaluate linemen in non-contact Organized Team Activities, but that Reiff seems to be picking things up quickly.
“He’s done very good in the classroom; he’s a quick study; he’s also very good in the weight room and in his individual drills,” Schwartz said of Reiff. “When you really think about the process now for OTAs, it’s installation, so learning the offense or defense, whatever you have to learn, but also individual improvement.”
If Reiff continues to improve for another three months, he should be in the starting lineup in Week One. And, the Lions hope, for several years after that.