Scherff goes No. 5 to 'Skins

BY DANNY PAYNE | MAY 01, 2015 5:00 AM

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Brandon Scherff is headed to the nation’s capital.

The now-former Hawkeye offensive tackle was taken by Washington at No. 5 in the NFL draft on Thursday night, making him the highest-picked Iowa player since Robert Gallery went No. 2 in the 2004 NFL draft.

“I haven’t talked to them since the combine, so I was pretty surprised,” Scherff said on Thursday. “But I’m stoked and happy. I’m ready to go.”

Scherff, consensually viewed as the draft’s top-offensive lineman, will begin the season at right tackle, according to ’Skins head coach Jay Gruden. He’ll replace Rosemount, Minnesota, native Tom Compton.

Although some said Scherff’s size and skills translate better to guard in the NFL, the ’Skins were adamant about playing him at tackle, but also touted his versatility and ability to play almost anywhere on the offensive line.

Ever humble, Scherff said it doesn’t matter where he plays and that he’ll play his best at any position he’s slotted.

“He’s played left tackle, he’s proven he can play left tackle,” Gruden told members of the Washington media. “He’s smart enough, he’s obviously athletic enough to move over to right tackle — I don’t think that will be an issue.”

Scherff was projected to go in the latter half of the top 10, but Washington said it wants to get back to running the ball.

“We thought that he was the best person for what we wanted — the best player available,” Gruden told members of the Washington media following the pick. “When 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.”

Position situation aside, Scherff is headed to a franchise that went 4-12 last season in Gruden’s first year. The 6-5, 319-pound Denison native said he’s been to Washington, D.C., once during his lifetime — on a Boy Scout trip in grade school.

“It was pretty neat,” Scherff said. “… We toured everything, saw the White House, saw all the monuments, and it was a good experience.”

This time around, however, the circumstances will be different. Scherff said he’ll report to Washington either today or Saturday, and once he does, it’s time to get to work and begin an NFL journey that has the potential to be very long and very fruitful.

“Dream come true,” Scherff said. “Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to do this, and first it was playing college football, then I set a new goal for myself, and seeing that phone ring on the table, it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders.

“And it was like, yeah, now we can figure out what we’re doing next.”

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

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