David Seigerman
Author

Preseason Top 10 Draft Prospects: Big Ten

Jul 11, 2014 4:21 AM EST

4. 3. Brandon Scherff, T, Iowa


It's difficult to consider Scherff's NFL prospects without comparing him to the three left tackles who played for Kirk Ferentz and were drafted in the first round: Robert Gallery (2nd overall pick, 2004), Bryan Bulaga (23rd, 2010) and Riley Reiff (23rd, 2012). Gallery was an unqualified bust, Bulaga's promising career has been undermined by injuries (though he's pencilled in as Green Bay's starting right tackle) and Reiff has done a capable job replacing Jeff Backus as Detroit's left tackle.

Scherff is none of them, no more than he is the quarterback he was as a high school sophomore.

It's probably not even fair to compare him to Taylor Lewan, the top tackle in the Big Ten a year ago. At this point, Scherff is the opposite of where Lewan was a year ago -- he's far more effective in the run game than in pass protection. Whereas Lewan was a taller, more athletic prospect (6-7, 309), Scherff (6-5, 320) is built more like Greg Robinson . . . though not in his class athletically. 

Scherff is strong, both in the upper body and in his leg drive. When he gets his hands on an opponent in a run block, it's over, and he's surprisingly quick at getting into the second level.

It's in pass protection where Scherff may have some issues. He's technically sound, but he lacks the foot speed to maintain proper positioning against speed rushers. He neutralized Shilique Calhoun a year ago in virtually every run situation, but Calhoun beat him off the edge a couple of times.

Scherff will hold his own against a power rush, which suggests he might wind up moving back to guard in the NFL. He played there in 2011 and earned Big Ten all-freshman honors. But he also could project as a right tackle at the next level, where he'd lead a power run game from the strong side and face fewer of the speed-oriented pass rushers.