With a new general manager in charge, new faces throughout the lineup as well as new assistant coaches bringing new ideas to the table, the Redskins are a team in transition. Between now and the start of training camp, CSNWashington.com reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the top questions facing Jay Gruden and Co. as they prepare for the season.
Was Brandon Scherff the right pick at No. 5?
When the Raiders selected wide receiver Amari Cooper with the No. 4 overall pick, some assumed the Redskins, a team in need of defensive help, would chose USC’s Leonard Williams, who was widely regarded as the top defensive prospect in this year’s draft. Wrong. Instead, GM Scot McCloughan raised a few eyebrows by picking Iowa’s Brandon Scherff, the consensus best offensive lineman on the board, a little earlier than he was projected to go. Did McCloughan make the right call?
El-Bashir: There had been rumblings about the Redskins’ affinity for Scherff in the days leading up to the draft, so I wasn’t blown away when they picked him. And, nearly three months later, I still like the decision to bypass Williams and nab Scherff—even if it meant reaching a bit.
Scherff fits all of McCloughan’s prerequisites. He’s big. He’s tough. He possesses leadership traits. And, based on his history, he’s going to play with an edge on the field and keep a low profile off of it.
Could the Redskins have traded back and still landed Scherff? Perhaps. But if he’s your guy, he’s your guy.
Look, Williams could go on to have a great career. There are going to be other players drafted after Scherff who will blossom into stars, as well. But based on the Redskins’ persistent need for a stalwart to line up across from perennial Pro Bowler Trent Williams, I think McCloughan saw a long term solution and made a sound decision.
Tandler: Although I basically agree with Tarik’s assessment of the pick, I still have an issue with of the value of the position. Fifth overall is very high to take a right tackle. They are paying O-line coach Bill Callahan a lot of money, it may have been better to have him coach up Morgan Moses or perhaps use a later-round pick to bring in a right tackle for Callahan to develop. It seems that Williams or even edge rusher Vic Beasley, who went to the Falcons three picks later, would have represented better value.
On the plus side, there is little reason to think that the Redskins will ever regret drafting Scherff. He seems like the solid, steady type who may never get All-NFL consideration but will be a guy they are glad to have in their lineup year after year. Although offensive linemen who are drafted early do bust, the failure rate for edge rushers and defensive linemen tends to be higher.
In an ideal world, the Redskins would have been able to trade back a few spots, pick up a second- or third-round pick and still get Scherff. But according to reports the phone in the Redskins’ draft room was not ringing. They had to choose between Scherff, Williams, and perhaps Beasley and went with the lineman.
Unless Scherff does flame out and Williams and/or Beasley becomes an annual Pro Bowl participant, I think that a few years from not, when you can reasonably judge a draft, you’ll be able to say that McCloughan made the right call.
Previously on Redskins offseason Q&A:
- Who will start at strong safety?
- Who will return punts and kickoffs?
- Who will be the third down back?
- Which rookie will have the most impact?
- How will the carries be divvied up?
- What will the QB depth chart look like?
- Who will the third running back be?
- Which free agent will have the most impact?
- Which new assistant coach will have the biggest impact?
- What team is the biggest threat to win the NFC East?
- Will Jason Hatcher live up to his contract?
- Who will be the training camp phenom?
- What will the cornerback depth chart look like?
- Can McCloughan be the franchise savior?