Redskins GM Scot McCloughan never blinked when the criticism mounted about 2015 first round pick Brandon Scherff. Drafted No. 5 overall, many questioned if Scherff could play tackle in the NFL, and if not, that was too high of a pick to justify taking a guard. So said conventional wisdom anyway.
If McCloughan does anything for certain, it’s not be confined by conventional wisdom. The GM didn’t waiver in his support of Scherff, and when the experiment at right tackle didn’t work, the rookie moved in to play right guard, and the results were great.
"The thing that’s encouraging about Brandon is when you look at what he was able to accomplish last year, first time transitioning inside to playing guard, and I thought he showed continuous improvement throughout the course of the year," Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. "He’s a conscientious guy – really tough. I think he competes well in both phases – excellent athleticism."
Tough is usually a word used to describe Scherff, and it showed as a rookie as he played almost every snap for Washington last season. Literally, he played every snap but one, almost unheard of consistency for a rookie offensive lineman in the NFL. And he didn’t just get by, Scherff showed he has the goods to become a Pro Bowl caliber guard, and cemented the right side of the Redskins offensive line along with tackle Morgan Moses.
“I always tell Brandon, I feel like he’s going to be an All Pro guard,” Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said of Scherff. “He has the talent to do so, and he’s definitely putting in the work to do so.”
This offseason, the praise surrounding Scherff has grown considerably. Williams clearly expects the now second-year player out of Iowa to be a force this fall, as does coach Jay Gruden.
“The more times you see the same play over and over again against different defenses,” Gruden said, “the better you’re going to be.”
It can be tough to judge the quality of play among offensive lineman; there aren’t many stats to track and generally linemen don’t want to hear their names called. Consistency and protecting the quarterback are what’s most important, and Kirk Cousins believes in the right side of his O-line.
“I think that’s where a lot of the excitement comes from. When you look at certain players who played at a high level last year with limited experience, and you can go on beyond just those two, but certainly those two,” Cousins said of Scherff and Moses.
“There’s a lot of excitement there. You see them every day, pre- and post-practice working with Coach Callahan and you just keep stacking days on top of each other and if you do that, good things are in store. So very, very excited to have those two guys and our entire offensive line.”