Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's Thursday, April 30, 2015, press conference following the selection of Brandon Scherff at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.:*
- Scherff will start out working at right tackle. **
While Scherff spent his last two seasons at left tackle at Iowa, that position with the Redskins, of course, is held down by three-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams.
So, at least to start, Scherff will compete at right tackle with the likes of Morgan Moses and Tom Compton.
"I think Day 1, we start him out at right tackle," Gruden said. "Obviously we have a Pro Bowl left tackle. We'll start him out at right tackle, see how he does and I'm sure he'll pick it up quickly. The thing we liked about him also, he's a very smart guy. He loves football, studies the game, knows a lot about it, has been well-coached in college. He has a lot of experience playing the position, so I think the transition will be smooth for him."
Last season, three different players – Moses, Compton and current free agent Tyler Polumbus – received playing time at right tackle.
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2. Gruden Likes Scherff's mentality and toughness.
There's just something about an offensive lineman who bullies opposing defensive players, and Scherff proved at Iowa to be a player that's not afraid to get physical.
There are several different highlight packages out there that show Scherff just overpowering guys, throwing them to the ground in the process.
It's a playing style Gruden likes in his offensive linemen.
"When you have a guy that's this tough on film and it just echoes every time you watch him play, every play that he plays, you see the toughness and you're like, 'Man, we could use a little bit more toughness,'" Gruden said. "Not to say we weren't tough last year. We had some guys that competed and played very, very hard, no doubt about it, but when you add another guy of his caliber, his size, his strength, his tenacity, that only makes your football team better. It's going to help our defensive line, it's going to help our offensive line, it's going to help our running game, obviously, and it's going to help our passing game."
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- The draft process was "very smooth" with general manager Scot McCloughan. **
Thursday night marked the first time that Gruden and McCloughan worked together in the draft room.
While the draft can be a stressful time with picks rolling in, Gruden said McClougan didn't seem phased by the pressure.
"He's been great – very poised, very calm, not very chaotic up there," he said. "A lot of times, 'Ah, you've only got three minutes to pick, hurry!' It's been very good, it's been a great, smooth process. [President] Bruce [Allen] did a nice job hiring a heck of a guy like that. You can see he's been experienced, he's been through this process before. He keeps everybody involved, he asks for input, ultimately it comes down to making the pick and we made a good one."
Once the draft got underway, McCloughan also took input from everybody in the room.
"The area scout who does him, the coaching staff, the coordinators, we all had our input," Gruden said. "Ultimately, Scot went through the due diligence, looked at a lot of players, a lot of background checks, did a lot of work, man. We appreciate that and we feel like the worked paid off. We got a heck of a player."
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4. Scherff will need to adjust to the pace of the game.
While Gruden sees Scherff as a player with a lot of potential who proved himself against Big Ten opponents, he also knows he'll need a little bit of time adjusting to the speed of the game.
Early on during minicamp sessions, OTAs and training camp, he'll have a crash course with linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who had a career year in 2014 with 13.5 sacks.
"It's going to be a heck of a difference for him," he said. "Blocking guys at Northwestern and Michigan State, it's going to be a little bit different than blocking [Ryan] Kerrigan on Day 1 when he comes to training camp. We'll see how he does but we feel like the type of guy that he is."
The hope is that he can settle in quickly.
"For somebody to transition fast, we need him to do that," Gruden said. "We think the character that he has, the ability that he has, it will be a smooth one. Obviously, Coach Callahan will be on him like he is on every offensive lineman. Believe me, he is going to grind on him. He's going to make him a better player."
5. When it came to who was available, Scherff was the best fit and best player available.
Call it a win-win for the Redskins, as they got their best player on the board at a position of need.
While several media analysts had USC's Leonard Williams going to the Redskins, they ultimately had Scherff graded higher.
"When it came to our pick, we thought that he was the best person for what we wanted, the best player available," Gruden said. "If you're talking about offensive linemen, you're talking about a big, physical guy, and we want to bring that mentality back to this football team and it starts up front. We addressed the defensive front a little bit in free agency, and I think we had to address the offensive linemen, the offensive line room, and we did that tonight."