The Redskins probably surprised a lot of people by passing on USC's Leonard Williams for Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff, but anyone who watched Jay Gruden's team play football last year knew that offensive line help was desperately needed. Scherff is a very nice combination of mauler and technician—he has a good kick-step, is tougher than some may think in the run game and can get to the second level with great speed and skill. There have been a lot of over-hyped Iowa linemen over the years, but Scherff isn't one of them. Scherff can either kick over to right tackle, or perhaps move to left guard next to Trent Williams. And if Williams gets hurt, Gruden now has a guy who can maintain that spot quite credibly.
Strengths: Unsurprisingly, Scherff is the most fundamentally sound offensive lineman in this draft class. Has ideal size (6-5, 319) and plays with a wide and strong base. Excellent second-level blocker who targets defenders very well in space. Weight-room monster who brings that to the field. Fully conversant with interior pulls and slide protections. Shows excellent power and leverage in two- and three-point stances, especially in run-blocking—Scherff sets the edge very well and can wall defenders out. Understands advanced blocking principles -- will move off his first assignment to his second fairly seamlessly. Controlled blocker in space who keeps his head on a swivel and is very aware of his surroundings. Highly accountable player who was a four-year member of the school's Leadership Group.
Weaknesses: Lateral movement is not a strength—Scherff struggles at times to move outside and maintain his leverage, and he needs a bit more time than ideal to set himself for optimal leverage if he isn't running in a straight line. Though he hits second-level targets well, needs to be more persistent in maintaining those blocks—he'll occasionally veer off and allow tackles to happen. In pass protection, tends to face up and use power as opposed to being smooth with a kick-step to define an arc around the pocket. Can be beaten by edge rushers to either side when he doesn't mirror the defender, and can be vulnerable to quick outside moves to the back of the pocket. Benefitted from multiple tight end sets. Suffered a broken ankle and dislocated fibula in his sophomore season. Short arms for the position (33 3/8") and word is that the NFL sees him more as a guard.
Player Comparison: Jake Long
GALLERY: SCENES FROM THE NFL DRAFT