Scherff leads Iowa draft class


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For former Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, it really never was a question of if he would be taken it the NFL draft, it was a matter of when.

That was the whole purpose of him forgoing the draft following his junior year and returning for his senior season at Iowa. He felt he could improve, as he noted several times. Hence, by making those improvements, he would likely be picked earlier.

Regarded by many as the top offensive lineman in this draft class, Scherff will be drafted, likely within the top 10. The only question now is whether his future will be at tackle — where he played for the better part of his last three seasons at Iowa — or at guard.

“As far as offensive line is concerned, I have Brandon Scherff as my top offensive lineman,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said on a Feb. 16 conference call. “… I think his best position, because of his power, his toughness, his football sense, is inside. I think he’s an All-Pro guard. But that doesn’t mean he can’t play tackle in the NFL.”

Mayock’s opinion on Scherff is far from uncommon. In fact, Scherff moving to guard seems to be the general consensus, for several reasons.

Scherff excelled this past season in the running game, often making highlight-reel blocks from the tackle position. However, on several occasions, the 6-5, 320-pound Denison native struggled in pass protection against laterally quick defensive ends.

“[Scherff] will default to sumo-style power push rather than leg churning at times,” says Scherff’s NFL.com draft profile. “Not a grab-and-control pass protector. Opens the gate earlier than you would like against edge-rushers offering two-way goes.”

Either way, Scherff’s body sizes up to having an immediate effect on whatever team he’s drafted by.
Aside from his big frame, Scherff measured in at the NFL Scouting Combine with 33.375-inch arms, and 11-inch hands.

One of the players Scherff is often compared with, former Iowa lineman Riley Reiff, has 33.25-inch arms. He was selected 23rd overall in the 2012 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.

“Scherff is what I’d call a high-floor addition on the offensive line,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper wrote.

“Because even if he doesn’t profile as a blindside tackle, I think he can be an immediate force in the running game and at a minimum becomes a dominant guard.”

Most mock drafts have Scherff going ninth overall to the New York Giants, who ranked 23rd in the nation last season in team rushing yards.

The hope is that Scherff will immediately change that.

And if his accolades at Iowa say anything, he can. He was a two-time All-Big Ten tackle, a consensus All-American this season as well as the winner of the Outland Trophy, which goes to the nation’s best offensive lineman.

Whenever he’s drafted, which should occur sooner rather than later, he wants to add to that list of accomplishments.

“I think the Giants [who currently hold the No. 9 overall pick] can count on immediate dividends from Scherff as either a right tackle or a guard right out of the gate,” Kiper wrote. “He’s one of the more dominant run-blocking linemen we’ve seen in the draft in the last few years, and he brings experience and the ability to take on the job like a professional right away.”

Follow @JacobSheyko on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa football team.

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