I’ll be taking a look at each of the Washington Redskins' rookies and how they fared after watching at least three of their games -- getting a feel for how they played in the beginning, middle and end of the season to measure their improvement.
Player: Brandon Scherff
When drafted: First round
Stats: Started all 16 games at right guard. He committed only three penalties, two of which were accepted for a total of 15 yards.
Games watched: Miami, New England, Green Bay
The good: Scherff got better and you could see a difference in the playoff game versus Green Bay. It’s not like he was perfect, but there were times he was much better with his hands in protection and blocked well accordingly. He was a little quicker and tighter with his hands, allowing him to win one-on-one. Again, there were some slip-ups but overall he got better in this area. Scherff moves his feet well, which is why he initially was tried at tackle. The footwork was evident when blocking out in space -- there were times you’d see him downfield on screens making a key block. But it was also seen more often on run plays in which he had to steer his man a certain way. Scherff would do so because of his feet. I liked his overall base; it enabled him to stay strong even when the defender drove into his chest. There were a handful of times when Scherff would initially be driven back only to anchor because of his consistent base. Makes a huge difference. Scherff played with good awareness for the most part on stunts and blitzes; kept his head on a swivel as they say and it helped him. Also liked that when he was free in protection, he would help one teammate and when that was secured immediately would look to help another. Late in the season, he did a better job getting to -- and blocking -- linebackers.
The bad: I wouldn’t necessarily say some of this was bad as much as it is what he must correct. It starts with more consistency with his hand placement. It was rough early in the season, from training camp on, and though it improved it still needs work. Scherff would either be a little slow with his hands or keep them too wide -- or both. His ability to anchor bailed him out. Sometimes he’d be a little too upright and defenders would burrow into his chest and move him back. That happened throughout the season, more so early but it also occurred versus Green Bay. Early in the season he struggled when trying to block linebackers, whether from taking wrong angles or not adjusting to the quickness. He wasn’t necessarily a road grader as a run-blocker.
Summing it up: Scherff improved throughout the season and you can debate who they could have or should have taken at No. 5 overall, but he at least appears to be someone with a solid future. He has the right mentality and has skills to work with, so there’s no reason to think he won’t get better. Scherff didn’t look spectacular, but instead was someone who made steady progress and was never really a problem. He played with good technique. He still needs to work on his hands in protection or at least his leverage. The good part for Scherff is there were times when he appeared beaten only to recover because of his leg strength and footwork. The Redskins should have a strong right side of the line in the future with Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses.