Detroit Lions 2012 NFL Draft Review

Riley Reiff

Detroit needed help in the secondary and General Manager Martin Mayhew, a former NFL defensive back, used three picks in rounds three, five, and six to address the backend weaknesses. Jacob Lacey was also added in free agency. Matthew Stafford was healthy all season and led the Lions to the playoffs. To help insure that Stafford stays upright, Iowa’s Riley Reiff was the first round pick at 23. Reiff will eventually start at right or left tackle filling in for the weakest link. There is no question that Ryan Broyles, when healthy, will bring another dimension to the Detroit offense. Monday morning quarterbacks would say with the need in the secondary, wouldn’t Josh Robinson, the speedy corner taken 66th overall by the Vikings, be a better pick at number 54 than an injured Broyles? Mayhew used selections at four, five, and seven to draft linebackers and add depth plus special teams’ coverage. Riley Reiff demonstrated good footwork and an excellent use of hands. He played both left and right tackle during rookie workouts but finished up on the right side. During OTAs he backed up both tackle positions. A three year starter in college, Reiff is the latest in a long line of offensive linemen from Iowa. He is a better pass blocker than former teammate Bryan Bulaga now with Green Bay. Help in the line was a priority and Reiff is a good fit. Ryan Broyles didn’t participate in the rookie mini-camp but was on the field for OTAs. He’s not at full speed because of his 2011 ACL surgery, but did run routes with quarterbacks. The four year starter concluded his career with a national record-setting 349 catches, good for 4586 yards and 45 touchdowns. What he lacks in size he makes up for with quickness and elusiveness. Dwight Bentley is very quick and showed good change of direction in rookie camp. He stuck on receivers like white on rice. He has quick ball reactions and mirrors cuts consistently. He can turn and burst in transition and has the speed to run with vertical receivers. Bentley plays with confidence and balance and will challenge Aaron Berry and rookie Jonte Green at right corner. Ronnell Lewis is making the transition between an outside linebacker and a widenine defensive end. He will need time to grow into his position. A good athlete, he has innate sudden first step quickness and plays well on his feet. He made several big hit splash plays over his short career which masked his inconsistencies. Tahir Whitehead will line up as a Sam linebacker behind Justin Durant. A good athlete with sideline to sideline speed, he is sudden to read and react. He has good knee and hip flexibility and plays with leverage and good lateral range. However, he will need to improve his hands to disengage and separate quicker. He should be a contributor on special teams. Chris Greenwood looks the part of an NFL corner but is technique poor. Right now he is a height, weight, and speed developmental player. Since he played at a low level of competition he must now get used to the speed of the game. His competitive ability to support the run, ward off, and shed will be challenged during training camp. Jonte Green is a developmental player who will need to stand out on special teams to make the 53-man roster. He will compete as a reserve and nickel corner with his aggressiveness and rare speed. Travis Lewis got a look at both inside and outside in mini-camp. It looks like he will be competing for the open fourth linebacker spot. Instinctive, reactive, and vocal in his play, he communicates well barking out defensive calls. Over his career he recorded 446 stops and is the third all-time leading tackler for Oklahoma. He has sideline to sideline range, good foot agility, and awareness in zone coverage. He gets a jump on the ball. GRADE: AVERAGE.

This entry was posted in 2012 NFL Draft Team Reviews, Detroit Lions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.