Lions draft prospect of the day: Tip Reiman, TE, Illinois

USA Today

Today’s Lions Draft Prospect of the Day is an interesting tight end who appears to fit what the Lions want at the position. 

The focus for these potential Lions prospects is on players who should hold some appeal for Detroit in the draft. Not all of them will be prominent names or high draft picks, and that’s true of the subject today. 

Tip Reiman

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 271 pounds (measured at NFL Scouting Combine)

Reiman grew from a walk-on in 2020 into an offensive captain for the Fighting Illini in 2023. Primarily an in-line tight end, the South Dakota native hauled in 19 passes in each of his final two seasons at Illinois. He elevated his draft profile with a strong week at the Shrine Bowl, where the Lions met with him, and an impressive NFL Scouting Combine and pro day display.

What I like

  • Brings a physical presence as an inline run blocker
  • Good feet and decent leg drive on the edge as a blocker
  • Sure-handed receiver on outlet throws
  • Feisty competitor who isn’t afraid to mix it up or challenge defenders
  • Progressed nicely at engaging blocking marks at the second level and avoiding holding penalties
  • Great grip strength and hand/shoulder power for the position
  • Tested out much better than expected as an athlete
  • Physical and balanced after the catch
  • Considerable special teams experience

What worries me going into the NFL

  • Oddly short arms (32″) for his height
  • Very pedestrian mover in space; didn’t come close to playing with the athletic testing numbers he posted at the combine
  • Slow release from the line and plodding change of direction and breaks in routes
  • Can get stiff and rise up when forced to sustain blocks

Overall

Reiman is a great story in rising up from walk-on to venerated team captain at Illinois. He also proved to be a pretty good blocking tight end with reliable hands as an outlet receiver as his Illini career progressed.

An outstanding NFL Scouting Combine workout definitely attracted attention, but Reiman never displayed that sort of athleticism functionally on the football field. He lacks suddenness and quickness, playing with slow feet and average acceleration in the open field. Reiman projects as an inline-only blocking tight end with the capability of catching the outlet and red zone passes thrown his way. If you combine Lions reserves James Mitchell and Brock Wright, you’d come close to what Reiman offers in the 5th-6th round.

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