Ask the folks that watched Redskins rookie minicamp last weekend, and an offensive lineman stood out. No, not only presumed right tackle Brandon Scherff, but the 6'5", 320 lbs. guard from Alabama Arie Kouandjio. A fourth round pick, Kouandjio has the size to play in the NFL, and though it's way too early to judge based on a rookie minicamp, the former DeMatha star impressed coaches.
"Kouandjio is a detailed guy. He loves football," Washington coach Jay Gruden said after rookie minicamp. "He practices hard. He wants to hear every ounce of criticism, every ounce of coaching that he can get and he tries to translate that onto the next rep."
Scherff looked strong in rookie camp, but at the fifth overall pick, that's expected. Depending what happens the rest of the summer, it's east to project Scherff as starting right tackle next fall, replacing the departed Tyler Polumbus. But many college scouts projected Scherff as a guard in the NFL, another position of need for the Redskins. Kouandjio and Scherff are nearly the same size, and in camp the two players were working out together.
"That’s the intent right now," Gruden said of the plan to start Scherff at right tackle. "But I think with Brandon, he’s a good football player, number one. He’s a good offensive linemen. We’ll find a spot for him."
Gruden again said that the "initial" plan is for Scherff to start at right tackle, and the coach mentioned Morgan Moses and Tom Compton as players competing for that spot as well. Truly, on the 'Skins offensive line, the only spot that is certain is Trent Williams at left tackle. Kory Lichtensteiger performed well at center, but the other three spots should be open for competition, something that GM Scot McCloughan stressed since he arrived at Redskins Park. Improved offensive line play is imperative for the 'Skins to get the best intel on quarterback Robert Griffin III as well before the team makes a decision about the long-term future of RG3 in D.C.
What happens in rookie camp in May is a long way from FedEx Field in September. A long way. Still, Kouandjio looked ready for the big leagues in camp, and the coaches noticed.
"We kind of knew that he would step up to the challenge, but that’s just the way he is," Gruden said of Kouandjio. "But to be able to step up to the challenge is what football is all about, man, because you’re going to get challenged every day, every rep."
Is there any chance Kouandjio makes a push to get on the Redskins starting O-line? And if he does, would that allow Scherff to go to guard? Or does Kouandjio project as a guard, perhaps moving Chris Chester or Shawn Lauvao off the line? Let us know what you think in the comments.