Adam Nardelli | NY Giants Rush Contributor
Today’s spotlight for Big Blue is…Brandon Scherff
In just under a week, the NY Giants scouts and coaches will be inundated with player evaluations at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Although it surely would be nice if the Giants found a player through their evaluation process that they believe will have a Odell Beckham Jr. level impact…but let’s be realistic and manage expectations.
So what should be the Giants expectations headed into Indianapolis?
Coming off a 6-10 season, the last thing Big Blue can afford is to be scrambling in the draft room once the big day arrives. As a result, developing what their expectations are headed into the Combine is the first step in identifying the prospects they feel they can target April 30-May 2.
The discussion of Big Blue’s expectations for the Combine will come in two parts, with the first part diving deep into the needs of the Offensive Line. Specifically discussing the run game, Andre Williams led the team in rushing yards with 721 yards, and 2013 was led by Andre Brown, who just had 492 yards in his own right.
Both of these numbers don’t exactly jump off the page. As Eli Manning continues to progress through his career, a run game will ever be so important, and developing the latter will start in the Combine with the big guys up front.
In several different mock drafts I have come across, from ESPN to nfl.com, Brandon Scherff, an offensive tackle from the University of Iowa, has been slotted as the Giants first round pick. Scherff started all 26 games in the past two seasons and was awarded with the Outland Trophy, the award given to College Football’s best interior lineman. Even more, Scherff was one of five players on the Hawkeyes to be part of their leadership group, showing the Giants he can be a leader of men, a trait New York have shown to be valuable in their evaluation process in recent years.
Jumping into his on-field evaluation, anyone can hear the opinion of Mel Kiper Jr., but Kiper should intrigue all New York Giants fans when he compared Scherff to Zack Martin, the Cowboys first round draft pick from last season. As a rookie, Martin was named an All-Pro as well as to the Pro Bowl.
Kiper believes Scherff can be plugged in at Guard, even though he was a left tackle in college, similar to how the Cowboys integrated Martin into their offense, and have an immediate impact on protecting the quarterback, and specifically in the run game. It was no coincidence that DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing yards. Anybody that watched Dallas saw how much Martin contributed to Murray’s success.
As much as the Cowboys repulse most Giants fans, taking a piece from their success this past season in terms of how they built up their offensive line should be something that is looked at very closely by the Giants. The Combine is their first opportunity to determine how they can improve the play of the offensive line, with the goal in mind of finding Guards and Tackles that can produce holes for a consistent run game as well as allow Eli Manning to go through his progressions inside the pocket.
If you take a look at the video showcasing Brandon Scherff’s 2014 season at the bottom of the page, he is relentless with his blocks, and looks to eat up anyone in front of him, especially when run blocking. The latter is why he could become such a great Guard, and why the Giants expectations going into Indianapolis should be largely surrounded around focusing on Scherff’s strengths and weakness, and how they fit into their offensive scheme.
With Scherff having strong potential particularly at Guard, his ability to help the run game could aid Andre Williams in taking a leap forward in his second year, giving him increased confidence if more open holes are present for him to run through.
So does Big Blue need Brandon Scherff?