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St. Louis Rams: Draft Prospect Riley Reiff

This is a post from our newest TST author, RamHock. He'll be posting under his own header very soon, so please join us in welcoming him to the Front Page -Turf Show Times Staff

I noticed our very own RVB selected Reilly Reiff in his most recent draft at SB Nation. As with anything here at TST, opinions are certainly divided. I thought I might share a bit more about the left tackle out of Iowa, in order that you may familiarize yourselves with a player who is a very real possibility if the Redskins are the Rams trading partner. I agree with Ryan and I’m going to tell you why.

Should the Rams trade with the Redskins, for the sixth pick in the NFL Draft, there are a couple of directions the team could go. Let’s make a couple of assumptions. In this scenario, the Vikings take Kalil. They had a glaring hole at left tackle last season after losing McKinney, and I think that had a lot to do with their horrific season. I can’t imagine any other reason for a team with such talent to fail so miserably, although perhaps coaching had something to do with it. We who reside in Rams nation are intimately familiar with the shortcomings of coordinators turned head coach. Let’s also then assume that at four, the Browns take Blackmon. With a solid offensive line, and possibly a solid back if Hillis returns, they have the luxury of giving weapons to their quarterback. My final assumption is that the Bucs take Morris Claiborne at CB, as it is rare for fit, (Ronde Barber has little left in the tank) and talent to come together so nicely.

So, that leaves Reiff as a real possibility. Along with Kalil, and Jonathan Martin, he represents one of the three tackles presumed to go in the first round. As stated, in this scenario, Kalil will be gone. I’ll leave you folks to debate Reiff vs. Martin. I did, however, want to give just a little bit more insight into Reiff. I’d welcome someone to go more in depth about Martin. I simply haven’t watched him as much as Reiff, but I’m sure there are some Stanford fans on this board, the Rams being from LA and all.

There was an intense recruiting battle between Iowa and Nebraska for the South Dakota native Reiff. In fact, he committed to Iowa, then to Nebraska, then at the last moment back to Iowa. He was recruited as a DE, but because his feet were so quick, and his frame so amenable, he quickly moved to the other side of the line. For those who don’t know, Iowa has a history of taking quick footed kids who can gain weight and put them on the offensive line. In fact, they pride themselves in taking high school tight ends (RobertGallery, et. al.) and high school wrestlers (Matt Kroul, et. al.) and turning them into the best player they could be, rather than the best player they expect to be, with liberal help from strength coach Chris Doyle.

From the moment he stepped into the starting line up in his sophomore season, Reiff’s raw ability was obvious. The guy is a monster. He is an absolute masher. He has a Dahlesque mean streak too. It seemed to me that when he got so big, the 6’6" 300 pounder liked throwing his weight around on the football field. However, his technique improved every year.

If I may, I’d like to compare him to another Iowa lineman, Bryan Bulaga, the tackle for the Packers. He also left after his junior year, and has been a great success. What I find interesting is that Bulaga is a technician. Everything he does is picture perfect, as far as technique goes. He just stonewalls DE’s and makes them figure out how to get by him. Reiff is a mauler who has picked up technique. To me, that’s an important difference. He grabs hold and makes DE’s not want to rush him anymore, and find an easier gap to penetrate; something I feel fits into Fisher’s mold. He wants to beat you up until you take your ball and go home.

Finally, the addition of Reiff mirrors what I think many of us would like to see if Kalill were drafted, i.e. the return of Saffold to the right side. I’ve seen both live, and honestly believe Reiff fits the bill better on the left side. Having Saffold as your right tackle makes for extremely effective bookends, and a return to the position he was drafted to fill. I can’t tell you how much I hated that we drafted a Left Tackle at number two and had to move him to Right Tackle. If a guy isn’t good enough to play the position you drafted him for, with the second selection, you have busted on the pick.

Reilly Reiff could solve the same problems as Kalil. In addition, he would also offer a couple extra draft picks, something the Rams desperately need. We have to finally come to grips with just how bad this team has been. One player cannot make a difference. The difference between Kalill and Reiff, in my opinion, is not enough to hang on to the second pick with additional picks being offered and the opportunity to select him at #6.

Finally, I just wanted to thank all of you for allowing me to write for such a wonderful community. Without Rams fans, I have no forum to address my musings. I’ll try to come up with interesting things for you to read as often as possible. Comments are welcome, and likely will garner a response.