Draft fallout: Can Riley Reiff play left tackle?


253 draft picks transformed the NFL in a matter of days. Around the League will examine the aftershocks by asking one post-draft burning question for all 32 teams.

Can Riley Reiff start at left tackle?

Draft fallout

Around the League examines the aftershocks of the 2012 NFL Draft with one burning question for each team:

AFC East
Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
49ers | Cardinals | Rams | Seahawks

The Lions didn't take Reiff in the first round to sit on the bench. He will be viewed as an immediate starter, likely on the right side. The team's last late first-round pick Gosder Cherilus is begging to be replaced. 

Detroit probably won't consider Reiff a truly successful pick, however, unless he eventually can replace Jeff Backus on the left side. That likely won't happen this year if Backus is healthy, but that's no guarantee considering Backus' age. It wouldn't be a shock if Reiff replaces Backus in 2013.

There are questions whether Reiff has the athleticism or the feet to protect Matthew Stafford's blind side. Detroit's pass-first approach requires that the team has a "franchise" left tackle and Reiff will have to prove he can play well on turf. Remember, Cherilus was once viewed as a safe pick.

Reiff is the key to this class. Second-round pick Ryan Broyles is a slot receiver coming off a torn ACL. He's probably not going to make much of an impact in 2012. Reiff, on the other hand, will be one of the biggest X-factors to Detroit's playoff push.