Thursday, October 19, 2017

Brandon Scherff cements himself among elite interior O-linemen

Brandon Scherff was taken fifth in the 2015 NFL Draft by former Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan. He was picked before defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who was available and widely considered the best player in the draft.

By Brandon Thorn
October 18, 2017

Once it was announced that the team would switch Scherff from left tackle (LT) to right guard (RG), people began doubting the logic of drafting an interior offensive lineman (IOL) so highly. The last time an offensive lineman was picked inside the top five of the draft and inserted into the interior as a rookie was Mike Williams in 2002, so naturally the 13-year gap for this scenario raised concerns among most fans and pundits.

Scherff made the transition from the left to the right side of the offensive line, and from tackle to guard from Day 1 of his first training camp… and has not looked back since. Scherff has drastically improved his consistency and technique in each of his first 2.5 seasons, earning a trip to his first-career Pro Bowl in 2016. Through the first six weeks of 2017, Scherff looks well on his way to earning an All-Pro nod, and has cemented himself among the elite IOL in the NFL.

Scherff’s dominance begins with his athletic ability (AA) and mental processing. These two traits, along with taking superior angles in space, combine to create elite play speed. No other IOL plays faster in space on screens or second-level blocks than Scherff. His elite competitive toughness forges an unmatched ability to fit, latch, and finish against second- and third-level defenders.

Through six weeks Scherff has elevated the proficiency in his technique to an elite level, validating his draft slot in the top five and providing the Redskins their second elite OL, joining teammate and LT Trent Williams in this rarefied air. There are no glaring weaknesses to Scherff’s skill set, which possesses the critical factors and position-specific traits I have not seen matched on tape from another RG this season. At just 25 years old and barely into the prime of his career, Scherff has reached a level only Cowboy RG Zack Martin and Raven RG Marshal Yanda have recently matched.

Led by O-line coach Bill Callahan, Washington’s OL continues to elevate itself to rival the best units in the league, largely due to the rapid development of Scherff. I would be surprised to not see Scherff at worst earn his second trip to the Pro Bowl by season’s end, and likely a selection to his first All-Pro team.

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