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Before protecting QBs, Redskins' Scherff was one

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Before protecting QBs, Redskins' Scherff was one

Brandon Scherff was quite surprised when he looked down at his phone moments after the Redskins selected him with the No. 5 overall pick Thursday night.

Amid all the messages from friends and family, there was also a greeting from the man he figures to be protecting next season.

“It hasn’t sunk in quite yet,” Scherff said, asked if he's thought about what it will be like to block for Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris a few months from now. “RG3 texted me Thursday night and said, ‘Congratulations, I can’t wait to meet you.’"

Well, Scherff got that opportunity Saturday afternoon at the team's draft day party at FedEx Field. After the former Iowa star was introduced to the crowd, he bumped into Griffin behind the stage. The two shook hands and shared a few laughs.

“I’m ready to block for him,” Scherff said a little later.

Scherff, who is 6 foot 5, 319 pounds, is projected to play right tackle, a position that experienced its share of struggles last season. Tyler Polumbus began the 2014 campaign as the starter but was benched after seven games and his replacement, Tom Compton, proved to be inconsistent, particularly in pass protection.

Getting drafted as early as he did, Scherff said, was an enormous relief. But he also knows it's just the first step toward become a starter in the NFL, a journey that began with an unexpected change of positions in high school.

“I played quarterback until halfway through my junior year,” he explained, noting that he weighed 290 pounds at the time.

“Then,” Scherff added, “Iowa offered [a scholarship] and said, ‘Sorry we’re not going to offer you as a quarterback. We want you as an offensive lineman.’ So I moved to tight end halfway through my junior year and then offensive line my last year.”

It didn’t take him long to realize he had made the right decision.

“On my first snap, the physicality of the position, I just loved it,” Scherff said.

Playing quarterback, though, isn’t all that's noteworthy about Scherff’s diverse athletic past. He also played tennis as a freshman in high school before schedule conflicts (and his size) caused him to quit.

“I tried it my freshmen year, but I had to give it up,” he said. “Because I went from track to tennis to baseball practice—all in the spring.”

Scherff joked that just because he doesn’t play competitive tennis anymore, that doesn’t mean he’s no longer dangerous on the court.

“It’s good,” he cracked, asked about the state of his game. “You try to do a little power but you have to get ‘em off balance with a little finesse, too.”

The past few days have indeed been a whirlwind for Scherff, who has traveled from his home in Iowa to the draft in Chicago to the team’s headquarters in Northern Virginia and finally to FedEx Field in Maryland.

One might assume he’d be ready for a couple of days to regroup. But not Scherff. He said he's anxious to report to Redskins Park for his first official day of work.

“All I know is there is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “I’m ready to go.”

RELATED: [Grading the Redskins 2015 draft]

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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