Our review of the Washington Redskins' 2015 class, the first under general manager Scot McCloughan, begins where it all began. Some openly questioned the choice of Brandon Scherff, a projected interior offensive lineman by certain draft evaluators, with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. After Scherff's impressive season at the starting right guard, the critics have gone quiet.
Before the Washington Redskins
The journey at the University of Iowa lasted five years. During his redshirt freshman year in 2011, Scherff played left guard for eleven games, starting three. It was the departure of Riley Reiff the following year that allowed Scherff to take over at left tackle for the first seven games of his sophomore year before suffering a broken fibula and dislocated ankle.
Scherff could have left Iowa after his standout junior year, but decided to return for his senior season. Good call. He was selected the winner of the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman on either side of the ball.
What the Analysts Said
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
"Like former Hawkeye Riley Reiff, Scherff has measurables and traits to play tackle in the league but might be better suited to play guard. More powerful than explosive, Scherff is not a scheme-specific talent and can maul or move in run game. Road-grader with pancake-man potential, but has holes in his pass protection that will be exposed on the next level -- especially at tackle."
Dane Brugler and Rob Rang, CBSSports.com
"His upper body strength, along with proper hand placement and good knee bend, make Scherff a force in the running game. Balanced with a naturally wide base and light feet, controlling his momentum well. Outstanding drive blocker with the punch to jolt and drive his man where he wants with above average hand use to attack rushers, keeping separation between him and his target."
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com
"Scherff was a tough run-blocker throughout 2014, but there still remain questions about his ability to handle NFL-caliber speed rushers. Scherff looks a little stiff for defending them. He could be a stud at guard. Scherff has short arms (33 3/8 inches) and doesn't have the feet for left tackle."
There was little doubt Scherff would be a major upgrade over 2014 starter Chris Chester. With a relentless motor and impressive athleticism, Scherff stood out. Go back and watch highlights of screen passes and you'll see No. 68 some 20 yards downfield leading the way.
Scherff helped the Redskins go from allowing 58 sacks in 2014 -- second-most in the league -- to just 27 in 2015, the fourth-fewest. Probably the best available statistics on the rookie lineman are that he committed only three penalties while playing every offensive snap except for one when his shoe fell off.
It's not just that Scherff will lock down the right guard position, but along with right tackle Morgan Moses, he's expected to turn that side of the line into a strength. That's key considering the uncertainty at left guard and center. With improvements from Scherff and Moses, also a second-year starter, Washington should be able to improve its overall ground attack and pass protection.
The first-round pick is not a finished product. That's fine. With his skills and desire plus the tutelage of offensive line guru Bill Callahan, Scherff's long-term future is bright and may include trips to Hawaii or Orlando or wherever they play future Pro Bowls.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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