With the fifth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30, Washington’s NFL team selected offensive tackle Brandon Scherff from Iowa.
Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff poses for photos after being selected by the Washington Redskins as the fifth pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Scherff made a name for himself as the top offensive lineman in the country by winning the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior offensive lineman. He was also a unanimous All-American selection.
Washington’s NFL team surprised many with their pick, as University of Southern California defensive tackle Leonard Williams—widely considered to be the best player then available—was still on the board. However, first-year Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan made it clear that Washington is looking for an improved offensive line to help starting quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Washington ranked 19th in run blocking and 31st in pass protection last year, making the offensive line clearly an area of need. At 6-feet, 5-inches and 319 pounds, Scherff is bigger than every Washington offensive linemen except for left tackle Trent Williams. He adds a layer of toughness and a physical mindset to the front line.
Many football analysts see Scherff as a guard rather than a tackle; he played both positions in college. However, it’s unlikely that Washington would draft a guard at No. 5 when they had a chance to add a player at a needed position with more impact. Washington has invested a great deal into Griffin, and already picked up his fifth-year option for 2016, so improving his protection was a safe pick.