Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Riley Reiff speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Every year during the NFL Draft, a notable prospect takes a tumble down and is selected much lower than most had anticipated. Sometimes it's for good reason--character concerns, injuries, measurables, etc. Other times, people can't really pinpoint as to why it happens, it's just an unfortunate case of other players at different positions being drafted higher than expected. And, even in some other cases, it's simply due to team representatives throwing out rumors and smokescreens about a player in hopes that they land him.
It appears that Iowa offensive lineman, Riley Reiff, is this year's victim and it appears to be due to a combination of the above-listed factors. Once deemed as the draft's second-best tackle prospect behind USC's Matt Kalil, it appears that Reiff will have to wait a little longer to have his name called than he expects, according to Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk and RotoWorld and Russ Lande of The Sporting News (via SB Nation's Mocking The Draft website).
The University of Iowa breeds a lot of solid NFL offensive lineman, much like their fellow Big Ten rival, Wisconsin. The issue seems to be one of athleticism with players out of each school, as most of their prospects are deemed not athletic enough to man the NFL left tackle position, even though they did so well at the NCAA level. The linemen at these schools are nasty maulers, but sometimes lack fluidity and proper footwork.
Such is the case with Reiff, who has been slated to be an NFL right tackle. He has good size at 6'6" and 315 pounds and was a well-decorated college player, but apparently teams are being turned off of him. Our own Joe Goodberry claims that Reiff has short arms and is better suited to be a guard at the NFL level. He's called Reiff's descent on draft boards early in the draft process and has even mocked him to the Bengals at No.17 to come in for their wide-open right guard position. It will be interesting to see what the team does if Reiff is indeed available at No.17. It will be even more interesting to see what transpires if both Reiff and David DeCastro are available at 17.
Reiff is a very good football player. It would just seem (according to Lande) that teams aren't sold on him being the type of player that you build your team around. With other talents at the position like Jon Martin, Mike Adams and Jeff Allen lurking around that range from the middle of the first to the middle of the second round, Reiff could get lost in the shuffle. If he makes it past Arizona at No.13 and the Jets at No.16, it could quickly become a weekend to forget for Reiff.