by Tyler Alston
Brandon Scherff: LT, IOWA, 6’5, 315lbs
OVERVIEW: Brandon Scherff hates you. He hates your mother, he hates your father, he hates your 4th grade teacher, and he really hates your mailman. Jon Runyan thinks Brandon Scherff wasn’t hugged enough as a small child. He’s the epitome of a Kirk Ferentz offensive lineman: technically sound, high football IQ, nasty, and relentless.
Scherff’s blend of brute force, technical ability, and high football IQ shine through in the run game. His footwork is solid. He has been well-coached on the fundamentals of zone blocking. He gets on his zone “track” and does a good job to move whoever is on it. When unengaged he excels at getting to the second or third level. Once there he typically does a good job of engaging the linebacker or safety. On occasion he gets juked or the defender is able to bounce off, typically due to not resetting his base and pad level, but that’s a fairly minor nitpick.
Scherff understands the angles of football. As a former offensive lineman, I don’t know that I can emphasize how valuable this skill set is. By understanding how the play is designed, Scherff is able to defeat many defenders simply due to superior positioning. For example on a toss sweep to the right, by simply stepping down into the “B gap” and hinging back to face the defensive end, Scherff has all but guaranteed to win his assignment. If the defender tries to cut behind him, Scherff is able to wash him wide. Should the defender cross his face and try to scrape down the line, he can lock his big meat hooks onto him and bury him. He is also able to get out in the open field on screen plays and does a good job of attacking more fleet-footed back seven players by being in better position.
Scherff has powerful hands. His grip is strong. His punch is ridiculous. Here is a video of him hang-cleaning 443×3.
When his punch hits your square in the chest, and it does more often than not, you feel every ounce of that power.
You’re now forgetting #8 from Oregon. You want the Eagles to sell the farm to trade up to get this generational freak. Well, to quote the great wordsmith Leland Corso “Not so fast my friend”. The major flaw in Scherff’s game is his vertical pass protection. His play-action pass protection is exceptional. He stops defensive linemen dead in their tracks. His horizontal pass sets are also a strong suit. When allowed to kick at more of a flat angle he is patient, and doesn’t leave himself open to inside moves. Even his understanding of pass rush stunts and games is quality. He doesn’t panic, simply passes his man off to the next blocker and waits for the next defender to come to him. However, when forced with having to quickly take a vertical pass set to stop speed he doesn’t have the foot speed to do it. Side to side, or moving forward, Scherff is a great player. Having to move backwards is a struggle for him. He gets too tall, and his feet come together, he tends to hop a little bit. Perhaps some functional mobility work can loosen up his hips and help some in the long run, but I doubt it will ever be a strength.
Grade: 1st round, likely Top 15
If you only watch one game: Indiana (2014)