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2012 NFL Draft: Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz Discuss Riley Reiff Pick

Via the Detroit Lions, below is a transcript of what general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz had to say during a press conference following the Riley Reiff pick on Thursday night.


Opening statement: "Riley Reiff - big, smart, tough guy; versatile. We think he can play four positions; Jim can talk a little bit about that. But the guy is a three-year starter in a good program. He's a good, solid offensive lineman.

"We came into this draft thinking that we needed to try to add some young players to that group and Riley certainly fits that mold."

On whether they tried to move up and take a cornerback: "As usual, we looked at all of our options and we tried to go up and at one point we were talking about moving back. We ended up staying put and taking a really good player."

On how important it was to get younger on the offensive line: "Very important. And we like the guys we have; we have five quality starters, but it's good to have a young guy in the pipeline with Riley's talent level. So we're excited about what Riley brings to the table.

"We got a good player - a good young player. (We were) a little bit surprised he was even available. He's going to help our football team a lot."


Opening statement: "Last year, (when) we drafted Nick Fairley, we needed a lot of things to happen in front of us with all of the quarterbacks that went last year to push a guy like that to us. We felt very fortunate that was able to happen this year. It was a very similar situation.

"It's not very often that the second offensive lineman off the board goes off at No. 23 overall. You've seen historically there (are) usually about four guys off the board by then. So we were very fortunate to be able to sit at 23 and still end up with a player that we liked.

"Riley is a left tackle; he fits the criteria for that position: athletic, former tight end, the guy was a three-time state-champ wrestler. Went to Iowa as a tight end, they moved him. He comes from a great tradition of offensive linemen at Iowa. He's a good run-blocker and he's a good pass-blocker.

"Even though he's still a young player, he'll still improve and take other steps. We're not drafting a guy that's a developmental player. He's a very experienced player; he's played at a high level in the Big Ten and we were very fortunate to be able to get him where we were."

On Reiff's versatility: "No. 1, he's smart; No. 2, he's a good athlete; No. 3, he's big - that goes a long way. He's not a mismatch as a run-blocker or as a pass-protector. We (weren't) taking a guy that you wanted to see something else from; we liked what we saw. He is multidimensional; I think that adds to his value."

On if they plan to have Reiff compete for a starting spot and if T Jeff Backus will move to guard: "It's way too early to take that approach. We'll put them all out there and we'll play. Their play in training camp and the offseason program, the OTAs and the preseason games, that will determine those things, not anything we're thinking right now."

On the importance of having a left tackle that can grow with QB Matthew Stafford: "Well, I don't know that necessarily having somebody that can grow with him, but having a guy in the pipeline to be able to play that position is very important to us. Jeff Backus has been incredibly consistent for us; he's been extremely durable over the course of his career and we still think he has more left.

"We have a very experienced offensive line and Dominic Raiola and Jeff Backus and we've been very fortunate the last couple years - particularly last year - to be healthy at that position. We experienced a lot of injuries at some positions; we stayed healthy at the offensive line position and wide receiver position. A few years before that, we hadn't stayed healthy at those positions.

"Like I said, this was a talented player; we were very happy to get a talented player that was one of our best players on the board when we were able to pick, combining that with an area that we need to get young guys in pipeline. I thought we were very fortunate."

On whether he was surprised Reiff was there: "You do a million different scenarios, but historically - you look at the last 10 years, I don't know if there's ever been a time that the second one has gone off the board right there. I think that those things are hard to predict, but you're ready for them when they do occur and that was this case."

On Reiff's off-field incident as a freshman: "We felt very comfortable with his explanation. That was right when he went onto campus as a true freshman, something that's long in his past and he hasn't had anything since. I think we've all done some things when we were freshmen in college that we didn't want coming back on us. I think the thing that gave us a lot of comfort was the fact that it was an isolated incident, there really hasn't been anything else. He's been incredibly productive and he's been a model citizen for Iowa and that gave us a lot more ease with that."

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