BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino
With ten offensive tackles being selected in the first round over the past two drafts, the position has cemented itself as a premium in the NFL. General managers are prioritizing having a pair of bookend tackles who can solidify their offensive line.
Iowa’s Brandon Scherff is one of the offensive tackle prospects who is likely to be looked at early in the 2015 NFL draft.
Scherff enters the 2014 season with 20 career starts; after starting seven games before a season-ending leg injury in 2012, he started all 13 games in 2013 and was both the Hawkeyes’ offensive MVP and a first-team all-Big Ten selection.
Why You Should Watch Scherff in 2014
Scherff is an outstanding run blocker. His technique, hand placement and leg drive are incredible. He generates outstanding power from his legs that shifts through his hips to his arms. He has a strong initial punch and creates huge running lanes off the line of scrimmage.
In the following play versus Wisconsin, you can see the strength of Scherff (No. 68, Iowa’s left tackle) on his initial punch to get his opponent off-balance, plus his ability to then run his feet with his arms extended to create movement.
Because Scherff is so powerful, aggressive and violent in his run blocking, running behind him in short yardage is a smart choice for an offensive play-caller. In the following clips, Scherff does an outstanding job generating quick power to drive his man off the ball. His aggressive demeanor, and powerful initial surge to create a running lane, are highlighted.
While Scherff is a mauler in the run game, he can also be a technician. In the following clip, Scherff can be seen wisely turning his man and positioning his body between his opponent and the ballcarrier to seal him off and generate the space needed to create a big play. Seeing Scherff dominate his defender off the ball is exciting, but seeing him operate in a functionally sound way, as seen in this play, can be equally as effective.
Scherff is a good blocker in space who anticipates where linebackers will be and seals them off with authority. He can also break down in space against secondary players to block them downfield.
In pass protection, Scherff flashes the skills needed to be sound at the next level. He demonstrates solid waist bend, foot speed and the ability to mirror an opposing rusher and keep him away from his quarterback.
Listed at 6’5” and 320 pounds by Iowa’s official athletics website, Scherff has the ideal size and length that scouts look for in offensive tackles. He uses his length and power to his advantage when pass blocking.
What Scherff Needs to Prove in 2014
Although he is far from a liability as a pass blocker, he isn’t as polished in this area as he is as a run blocker. His aggressive and physical nature and trying to dominate his opponent can be his worst enemy when pass blocking, as it leads to Scherff having too much weight going forward and being in an attack mode. Due to his lack of patience to anchor and mirror his rusher, he often lunges and misses with his hand placement. He can overcome that with power at the college level but it could be a problem as he heads into the NFL.
Projecting Scherff’s Draft Stock
At the end of his senior season, assuming no injuries, Scherff will have more than 30 starts under his belt while playing at a high level against excellent Big Ten competition. He has the combination of on-field play and excellent physical attributes that will garner the attention of NFL decision-makers in the 2015 draft.
Scherff has all the makings of a plug-and-play tackle and long-term starter in the NFL. He firmly belongs in the discussion to be a mid-to-high first-round selection.