Riley Reiff's status on Lions' O-line in flux
Indianapolis — As was the case last offseason, the position Riley Reiff will play next season is a mystery right now.
Reiff has been the Lions’ starting left tackle the past three seasons, but hasn’t been an elite player at the premier position. Former general manager Martin Mayhew last year picked up the fifth-year option on Reiff’s contract, which will keep Reiff in Detroit for 2016, but new GM Bob Quinn declined to say where he envisions Reiff playing.
“We’ll figure that out as it comes,” Quinn said at the NFL combine Wednesday. “He’s a versatile guy, he’s played different positions in his college career and his pro career. We’ll look at everything depending on who else is on the team.”
The Lions drafted Reiff in the first round in 2012. He played mostly left tackle at Iowa, but as a freshman, he started seven games at left guard and one at right tackle, too.
In the NFL, Reiff spent his first season as a backup, but played significantly as a sixth offensive lineman in some packages. Since 2013, he’s started all but one game at left tackle.
But, even before Reiff took over for Jeff Backus at left tackle, the Lions started looking to improve their tackle group. In the 2013 draft, the team coveted offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson, who went No. 1 and No. 4 overall, respectively. The Lions ended up taking defensive end Ziggy Ansah at No. 5.
The Lions again looked at ways to improve their tackle position last year, but starting with the No. 23 pick, the team traded down and took guard Laken Tomlinson.
This year, the Lions have the No. 16 pick, and one of the top offensive tackles could be available. The team could also look to add a veteran in free agency.
The only thing Quinn said for sure with regards to Reiff is that he’ll be on the team next season.
“Riley’s here,” Quinn said. “He’s going to be here on our offensive line.”