A polished technician that sets up well in pass protection, with good knee bend and good base. Keeps his hands high and tight and ready to initiate contact on the edge. Does a nice job getting position as a run blocker. Has good hands there, and is able to lock on when blocking on the move. Can lock onto small defender and drive him downfield. Shows good leg drive and consistently finishes his blocks. Can make the seal block on the edge. Takes good angles when blocking in space, and comfortable blocking on the second level or pulling. Able to square up the linebacker on the second level, as well as make the cut block in the open field.
Tends to have some issues matching up against speed, tending to open his stance a bit. Will also slide his feet at times, causing him to lose base and be susceptible to power on the edge. Doesn't dominate with his hands in pass protection, and can whiff on his punch because he'll get overextended. Doesn't always show ideal balance to deliver a good punch to adjust to the inside counter move. At times when blocking laterally or on the move, won't show quick hands to get ideal position there.
Reiff is a polished technician that uses his hands well as a run blocker. He has good size and athleticism, although he's still developing in both areas. Has bulked up, but he's a player that still hasn't really found his ideal playing weight, as he was around 300 pounds at Iowa this past year. If there was a reason for him to go back to school, it was to get another year of physical development. Doesn't have the ideal athleticism and frame of an NFL left tackle, but he can play there at the next level. Like most Iowa lineman, he's fairly polished. He still has room to grow, but that will be his best asset that will make him an effective blocker at the next level. He first came to light as a freshman when he was filling in for an injured Bryan Bulaga at left tackle for a couple of games. He also played well against Derrick Morgan when he was matched up against him at right tackle during their bowl game. He was also a three-time state champ in wrestling in South Dakota, going 121-1 during his high school career.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/17) vs. Pittsburgh: 1 key block, 1 sack, 1 pressure
(11/12) vs. Michigan St: 1 pressure; Downfield: 2/3
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, left tackle
2010: 13/13, left tackle
2009: 13/11, 7 at LG, 3 at LT, 1 at RT
Reiff lacks the elite tools that will likely prevent him from being an elite left tackle in the NFL. But he certainly has enough tools that he can be an above average to good one. He's not a guy you want matching up with the elite speed rushers, as the smaller quicker guys tended to give him more issues than the bigger guys. That's why he might project better as a right tackle, where he's more likely to face those 280-pound ends rather than those 260-pounders that tend to give him bigger issues. He can get by at left tackle in the NFL, especially in a zone-blocking scheme similar to what Iowa uses. You like his versatility and experience of playing guard as well as right tackle at least for a few games, which means that if a team doesn't like what he brings at left tackle initially, they can plug him inside or move him across the line. As a left tackle prospect, the player I would compare him to is Joe Staley. Although I think Reiff's real upside is potentially as a run blocker. His hand use as a run blocker is so much more effective than it is as a pass protector, which is also why I think right tackle is a better fit for him. He's not going to be a dominant mauler there, but like a Staley or his former teammate in Bulaga, he'll be solid to good there. Especially if he was to play in a zone-blocking scheme, where I think he could potentially develop down the line into a player like Eric Winston. That's where his ideal fit is, because as a zone-blocking right tackle that's probably where his potential is elite. As a left tackle, I think he can be solid to good. He won't be among the best guys in the league, but his team will probably not lose much sleep if he's playing there. He can work in any scheme, including man-blocking but that won't be his best fit. I don't expect him to come in right away and be great, but he should be an effective year one starter, especially if he begins on the right side. He needs a year or two in an NFL locker room more than anything to really fill out his frame, and then once that happens, I think he can start to blossom into a plus-starter at the next level.
Eric Winston, Chiefs.
Reiff is an upgrade for the Falcons at left tackle over Sam Baker. While he won't be an elite pass protector on the left side, he's more than capable of being a significant improvement over Baker where he is no longer going to be a liability against the top-rated ends. And the other factor is that he is a major improvement as a run blocker because he's a guy that can consistently get position and get some push, especially once he fills out his frame. If the Falcons utilize more zone-blocking, the fact that he projects better in that scheme than in a man-blocking one, won't be as big a deterrent. Because at least with Reiff, he's not a poor fit in a man-blocking scheme like Baker is. Reiff is capable enough to come in right away, be plugged in at left tackle and while he won't be a stud right away, he should be a decent starter with the upside to get better and become a solid bookend for the Falcons.
Reiff makes a nice first round pick, as he's fairly safe because he'll find a role somewhere in the NFL as a starter even if it's at guard. But because of his lack of elite potential as a left tackle, he's probably better served being taken in the middle in the first round, and would be a bit a reach if taken in the Top 10. His safety is going to push him up a bit in the draft, as it tends to do with all capable tackle prospects, but he tends to compare more favorably with the tackles taken over the years in the latter half of the first than the upper half.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 7.0
Run Blocking: 7.5
Mean Streak: 7.0
Scouting Reports of the center, guards, and offensive tackles in the 2012 Draft.
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