“Coach [Jay] Gruden, he said, ‘We want you to be a Redskin. How do you feel about that? ‘I said absolutely and just talked about that. I talked to Coach [Bill] Callahan and then went on stage.” — newest Redskins lineman Brandon Scherff
With much speculation over the past three months of whom the Washington Redskins would select with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft — from Marcus Mariota to Dante Fowler to nobody at all in a trade down scenario — we now know that individual is Brandon Scherff. This is a statement pick that tells the rest of the league that Scot McCloughan is in charge and wants to create a dominant force on the line on both sides of the ball that can impose their will.
Scherff is a 6’ 5’’ 315 pound offensive lineman out of the University of Iowa and was rated as the No. 1 offensive linemen available in the draft ahead of names like Ereck Flowers and Andrus Peat. Scherff is a big, tough, nasty, and strong individual on the line to protect Robert Griffin III and block for Alfred Morris. Scherff spent all four years in college and played behind and at times replaced, when injured, Riley Reiff, who was a first round pick of the Lions in 2012.
“Then when it came to our pick, we thought that he was the best person for what we wanted, the best player available,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “If you’re talking about offensive linemen, you’re talking about a big, physical guy, and we want to bring that mentality back to this football team and it starts up front. We addressed the defensive front a little bit in free agency, and I think we had to address the offensive linemen, the offensive line room, and we did that tonight.”
Moreover, the acquisition of Bill Callahan as the Redskins offensive line coach most definitely had an impact in the decision as McCloughan somewhat hinted at in his press conference on Monday. It is now believed that Scherff will transition into Washington’s starting right tackle which was a much maligned position for the club last season. As a result, the Redskins offensive line could read Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Morgan Moses (possibly replacing Chris Chester, and Brandon Scherff.
Gruden went out of his way to praise Scherff’s toughness. “When you have a guy that’s this tough on film and it just echoes every time you watch him play, every play that he plays, you see the toughness and you’re like, ‘Man, we could use a little bit more toughness.’ Not to say we weren’t tough last year. We had some guys that competed and played very, very hard, no doubt about it, but when you add another guy of his caliber, his size, his strength, his tenacity, that only makes your football team better. It’s going to help our defensive line, it’s going to help our offensive line, it’s going to help our running game, obviously, and it’s going to help our passing game.”
In what might be a shocker to some with defensive lineman Leonard Williams still on the board — Mel Kiper’s No. 1 rated prospect — McCloughan pulled the first major shocker of the draft by drafting an offensive tackle. What makes this move even more shocking is that there were highly reported rumors that if Williams was available, the Redskins said to him that they would draft him.
When talking on ESPN980 Radio, Scherff said he did not talk to the Washington Redskins much except at the NFL Combine. Scherff says that his best trait is his foot work, while he needs to work on his pass protection the most. The Iowa big man also shared his confidence in playing all five positions on the offensive line because of his versatility which Jay Gruden talked about in his first round press conference. However, Gruden has stated he will be plugged in day one at right tackle.
“Either way wherever they want me to play, I’ll do my best and I’ll jump right in and try to get that spot,” Scherff said in his post-draft media call.
Gruden shed light that they might have looked more for a non-defensive lineman because of their free agency acquisitions, which would explain why they passed on Leonard Williams. The head coach also said that they had the phone ringing a little but said when your guy is there you have to take him. It is possible that Scherff was the second player on the Redskins board behind Dante Fowler.
As a chain reaction of moves, the New York Giants, who desperately needed a left tackle, had their hand forced and drafted Ereck Flowers out of the University of Miami. This is definitely a stretch pick because of questions of what position Flowers will finally settle into, as well as if he has enough time to be polished into a NFL offensive line from his current state of raw talent.
McCloughan started to build up the San Francisco 49ers at the offensive line position leading to the building of an eventual playoff contender. He is starting to follow the same blue print with the Washington Redskins. It will be interesting to see who will fall to the Redskins at the 38th overall pick tomorrow. Redskins fans who may be hesitant on this move should still have faith in McCloughan going into the later rounds because of his excellent track record of finding that diamond in the rough.