At some point in the first round of the NFL Draft tonight, Iowa junior offensive tackle Riley Reiff is going to hear his name called.
Unlike most of the first round draft picks, Reiff won’t walk across the stage and meet Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner. He won’t have a jersey and hat thrust in his hands. He won’t mug for the camera.
“It’s not Riley’s nature,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Riley would rather be fishing or doing things like that than being in Manhattan hanging out with whoever.
“He is not about attention.”
Like it or not, attention has found Reiff, who is rated as the second- or third-best offensive tackle in the draft.
Reiff’s agent Neil Cornrich said Reiff was invited to attend the draft but, “for personal reasons,” chose not attend.
He will spend the night with his family up in Parkston, S.D. His mother Jo said ESPN wanted to have a camera crew, but Riley didn’t really want that.
Ferentz mentioned Tuesday that Reiff had a grandfather “that is as important to anything.”
Lloyd Reiff, 93, has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years.
Jo Reiff said every time Lloyd’s in the hospital, he tells the nurses he has to get better.
“He says, ‘My grandson is going to play pro football,'” Jo said. “He wants to be here to see where he goes.”
The whole town of Parkston and most of the state of Iowa want to see where, too.
Reiff earned all-American and all-Big Ten honors as a junior. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle is is the eighth-best prospect on “The Big Board” of ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is just his aggressiveness,” Ferentz said. “He’s durable. It’s hard to get Riley off the field.”
Some draft experts aren’t as high on Reiff. Todd McShay, another ESPN draft expert, says Reiff is not elite.
“I think he can be an okay left tackle in the NFL, kind of in the Jeff Backus mold,” said Wes Bunting of the NationalFootballPost.com. “I think top ten is too high for him. I think he’s going to struggle with power, to be honest.”
Bryan Bulaga started slipping down the draft board two years ago. He landed at No. 23 with the Green Bay Packers.
And all he did was start and help win a Super Bowl in his first season.
“I feel a little bit like I did about Bryan Bulaga with Riley,” Ferentz said. “Clearly, his best football is ahead of him.”
Ferentz said Reiff, who declined to be interviewed, would prefer a smaller market, perhaps, but would play hard wherever he went.
“He has never done anything to try to gain attention but he has because he has performed well,” Ferentz said. “He’s going to be a really good football player.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football