Redskins coach Jay Gruden indicated that the team’s decision to draft offensive lineman Brandon Scherff with the fifth pick in the draft last night was a fairly easy one.
“We understand there’s a premium on great offensive tackles,” Gruden said shortly after the team took the Iowa product on Thursday night. “They’re hard to find nowadays. When you have a chance to get one of his caliber you have to stand up and take him.”
He said that there was a bit of interest from teams wanting to trade up with defensive lineman Leonard Williams, considered by many to be the best player in the draft, still on the board but it amounted to just “some phone calls here and there.”
Gruden said that the Redskins liked just about everything about the 6-5, 319-lb redshirt senior, both his style of play and his attitude.
“You’re talking about a big, physical guy and we want to bring that mentality back to this football team,” said Gruden. “It starts up front.”
Scherff has a reputation for having a surly attitude on the field and he’s quite proud of it.
“It think that’s what everybody—every lineman—wants to be known for,” Scherff said on a conference call with reporters. “They want to be known for tough, nasty, physical [play].
The acquisition of Scherff could give the Redskins a solution at the right tackle position, which has been a problem area since Jon Jansen’s play started to decline about 10 years ago. Last year Tyler Polumbus played on the first team at the start of the year before Tom Compton took over for the final nine games. Neither was particularly impressive and the Redskins’ rushing game was 19th in the NFL.
Right tackle was a good place to start in rebuilding the offensive line. Gruden said that he wants to “get us back to the glory days of running the football and being physical.”
The “glory days” that Gruden is referring to go back to the 1980’s, when the offensive line earned the nickname The Hogs with a physical, tenacious style of play. It looks like Scherff will fit right in.
“Nasty, physical, likes to finish blocks, likes to get after people,” Scherff said when asked to give a quick self-scouting report.
The Redskins felt very good about Scherff based on film and background research. He and the Redskins spoke at the NFL Combine last February and according to Scherff they had not been in contact since.