04/29/2012 - While most draft experts debated whether Reiff was a better fit as a right tackle or left tackle, Schwartz was firm. "He's a left tackle," he said. "He fits the criteria that you want at that position. He's big, tough, he's a former tight end and a three-time state wrestling champ (South Dakota). He comes from a great tradition of offensive linemen at Iowa. He's a good run blocker and a good pass protector. "Even though he is young and will still improve in certain areas, we're not drafting a guy that's a developmental player." So what does that mean for starting left tackle Jeff Backus, who will turn 35 in September and is coming off biceps surgery? Will he have to fight for his job? Will he be moved to guard? It's way too early to take that approach," Schwartz said. "We'll put them all out there and we'll play. Their play in training camp, in the OTAs and in the preseason, that will determine those things, not anything we are thinking right now." - The Sports Xchange
A diverse athletic background helped Reiff develop various physical abilities that all come into play at the important left tackle position.
It began at Parkston High in South Dakota, where he was an outstanding tight end (27 catches, 321 yards, nine touchdowns as senior), defensive end (23 career sacks), wrestler (121-1, three-time state championships), track and field athlete and, surprise -- golfer. At Iowa he began as a defensive end in 2008, was scheduled to move to tight end in 2009, but when he grew from 250 to 280 pounds moved to offensive guard.
When All American Bryan Bulaga was injured in 2009, Reiff played some at left tackle and had early challenges against top rushers. Reiff worked hard in offseason and after Buluga was drafted in first round by Green Bay in 2010, the Hawkeyes barely missed him.
Reiff's arms (33 inches) are shorter than scouts like, but he maximizes his big frame, strong hand punch and quick feet to fend off pass rushers or open lanes for his own rushers.
However, his best-documented display of footwork at Iowa occurred before he even suited up when, in 2008, he outran Iowa City Police for 20 minutes before being arrested for public intoxication.
Pass blocking: Looks like an athletic NFL left tackle. Easily turned back most college pass rushers with lateral agility and length. Natural knee-bend and reach to escort edge rushers around the pocket. Recovers to cut off inside rush lane. Effective cut blocker despite his height. Loses his pad level and must concentrate on utilizing length and feet to find targets. Stronger defenders get into his pads to punch or drive him back when he misplaces hands. Could play with a more consistently wide base.
Run blocking: Athletic run blocker with quickness and lateral movement to effectively wall off opponents on the edge. Can be unbeatable when he gets position. Reaches linebacker easily, taking precise angles. Gets fairly low off the snap for his height in short-yardage. able to combo from lineman to linebacker very quickly. Extends his arms at the end of strong blocks for emphasis. Must keep his feet moving and hands active on runs to his side; NFL linemen will be able to shed.
Pulling/trapping: Does not trap or pull in team's zone blocking scheme, but has the feet and flexibility to get the job done on the move. Leads screens and off-tackle running plays and is an effective open-field blocker.
Initial Quickness: Note elite in this category but comes off the ball hard and strong on run plays and rarely gets beat off the snap in pass protection. Quick and long enough to reach-block most linemen on zone plays, though he will give up some penetration to stronger opponents.
Downfield: Possesses good footwork to reach second-level defenders or safeties downfield on run plays. Hip flexibility, arm length, and feet allow him to hit multiple targets, adjust to oncoming defenders, and get the correct angle to wall off the play.
Intangibles: Willing to back up teammates on the field. Arrested for public intoxication, avoiding arrest in July 2008 after leading Iowa City police on a 20-minute chase on foot.