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.”
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