The Lions lost last year’s starting left tackle Jeff Backus to retirement and lost last year’s starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus to free agency. So it was surprising that they didn’t draft an offensive tackle.
But Lions coach Jim Schwartz says last year’s first-round draft pick, Riley Reiff, is ready to step in and protect Matthew Stafford’s blind side.
“We drafted him as a left tackle,” Schwartz said of Reiff, via the Detroit Free Press. “Probably with the way things ended up here, we’ll probably start him off there. We have a lot of confidence in him. I mean, that’s why we drafted him last year.”
Reiff started one game at left tackle last year when Backus was hurt. Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard (who have each started five NFL games) will compete to start at right tackle. Throw in rookie Larry Warford as a starting guard, and the Lions will have three very inexperienced starters on the offensive line.
And so as the Lions prepare to give Stafford a nine-figure contract, they’re not investing a lot in the linemen who will protect him.