Riley Reiff poised for breakout season?

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

One Sports Illustrated writer thinks Detroit Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff is poised to have a breakout season in 2013.

2012 first-round pick Riley Reiff spent his rookie season with the Detroit Lions essentially serving as the team's sixth offensive lineman. He did make one start at left tackle, but most of his time was spent lining up as a blocking tight end/H-back.

This year, Reiff is in line to become the permanent starting left tackle. Jeff Backus retired in the offseason, meaning Reiff's time has come to take over at left tackle. It remains to be seen if he's truly ready for the job, but Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke seems to think so. Burke recently named Reiff as one of 10 players from the 2012 draft who are "poised to break out" in 2013.

Reiff quietly turned in a solid rookie season — Pro Football Focus graded him out as the Lions’ best run blocker, despite the fact that Reiff played about 900 fewer snaps than Detroit’s 16-game starters and he saw the bulk of his action as an extra lineman in run-heavy alignments. His responsibilities will be much more significant in 2013, as he takes over the left tackle spot replacing Jeff Backus, who started 186 consecutive games for the Lions at that position.

What exactly would a breakout season look like for Reiff? Aside from starting 16 games at left tackle, a breakout season to me would be if we don't notice a drop off from Backus to Reiff. Obviously it'd be nice for Reiff to someday develop into a Pro Bowl type of left tackle, but in his first true year of starting, the main thing is to simply consistently protect Matthew Stafford and continue to be solid in the run game.

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