Scherff looks at guard duty

BY DANNY PAYNE | APRIL 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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It’s here.

By the time former Hawkeye star lineman Brandon Scherff wakes up Friday morning, he will be a member of an NFL roster, the first step in what has the potential to be a very long and very fruitful career playing professional football.

Barring a miracle, Scherff will be taken in the first round of Thursday evening’s NFL draft in Chicago, and he has a real possibility to walk across the stage as one of the first 10 picks at the Auditorium Theater.

However, not surprisingly to those who know the 6-5, 319 Denison, Iowa, native, he’s not thinking about any of that; he is enjoying things step by step.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “You can’t really think about that like that. Each team that comes in, you have to have your full attention toward them and try to improve no matter who they are. You just have to show them you’re willing to do what they want you to. You can’t listen to that noise.”

Some of the noise surrounding Scherff is what position he will play once he gets to the next level. Although he spent the last two seasons of his time in Iowa City at left tackle, some scouts and analysts think he’s better suited to play guard because of his frame and skills.

They’re probably right — there weren’t many chinks in his armor exposed during his time at Iowa, but that won’t be the case when playing against an NFL defense.

Occasionally, Scherff struggled in pass protection and getting beat on the edge by a defensive end or linebacker. Whether it was turning his hips too soon and opening the gate to the quarterback or simply not being quick enough to set the edge, NFL defenses will find ways to exploit that, which is why guard is likely going to be the better option.

Playing on the inside relieves some of the pressures in that area and gives Scherff the opportunity to use his freak strength to his advantage. That’s not to say it’ll be that way for Scherff’s entire career — he could develop those skills and eventually move based on the team he plays for — at the beginning of his career, the inside simply is a better fit than playing as an NFL tackle.

“Scherff is athletic enough to remain outside at tackle, but his build and physicality could be even more effective inside at guard,” wrote cbssports.com’s Dane Brugler and Rob Rang. “Regardless of where along the offensive line his NFL teams asks him to play, Scherff boasts the talent and toughness to stand out immediately.”

On where Scherff would prefer to play, he told members of the media following his Pro Day that he has told teams he’s indifferent and will play wherever he is needed.

“That’s the way to answer that [question],” Scherff said, half joking.

But position can be worried about once Scherff’s contract is signed and camp begins. Today is about taking that next step and shaking Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand in Chicago.

Even if Chicago isn’t the place Scherff would like to be.

“My agent told me I should be there,” Scherff said. “… I was trying to go fishing, but [my agent] wasn’t budging with that.”

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