Wednesday, May 04, 2016
May 4, 2016
By Jordan Hansen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington’s first-round draft pick Brandon Scherff has had a busy year adjusting to life in the NFL.
He was moved from offensive tackle, his position in college, to guard during the first few weeks of training camp. In addition to switching positions, he also had to learn an entirely new playbook after spending the previous five years mastering the Hawkeyes’.
Washington made the playoffs, and Scherff got a taste of something rare in the NFL — postseason football. While Washington lost in the first round, it was a successful year for a franchise coming off a 4-12 season in 2014.
“We started to finally put the pieces together and started playing together,” Scherff said. “To win the division and go to the playoffs, some of the vets said, ‘Don’t get used to it.’ You gotta take advantage of those opportunities you get.”
The transition has been nearly seamless and much of that credit, he says, goes to the Iowa coaching staff, especially strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.
“He got me to do things I never thought I could do,” Scherff said. “When it comes to getting you ready for the NFL, there’s no one who does it better than Iowa.”
Scherff made the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team and was widely hailed as a massive success. He was also one of the most consistent players on the team, missing exactly one snap in his 17 starts.
Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner said Scherff graded out as one of the top guards in the league.
“Scherff is definitely a very good run blocker, and I think the scheme they run in Washington is perfect for him; it plays to a lot of his strengths,” Renner said. “He’s only going to get better with more time, and he’s just a freakish athlete.”
There are, however, some things for Scherff to work on. There were a few pass-blocking issues at Iowa, and Renner says they have carried over a bit.
Even so, according to Pro Football Focus, Scherff gave up just 2 sacks this season. He was also only assessed for just three penalties this year, a solid statistic.
“He still doesn’t have the great change of direction that some guys do, but guards not a premium pass-protecting position, similar to center,” Renner said. “You can get by with a guy who’s maybe not pass blocking extremely well snap after snap if he’s getting movement in the running game.”
Washington will expect quite a bit out of its now second-year guard next season, and Scherff sounded like he’s up for the challenge.
It’s now the middle of the off-season, and Scherff has been busy in the weight and film room, preparing for coming season.
“You always want to get your body stronger and faster,” he said. “We’re trying to play faster, play smarter, so you’re getting into the playbook … meeting the new guys and just getting ready for the season.”