Protection for New Orleans Saints Pro-Bowl QB Drew Brees is an absolute must in order for the offense to find consistent success. Unfortunately in 2014, that barrier was absent, constantly causing the gunslinger to force quick passes, resulting in bad reads and turnovers.
When your quarterback is responsible for 20 giveaways in one season, some of that accountability will fall onto the shoulders of the offensive line. In the Saints’ case, the guardianship of Brees was insufficient for a majority of the year.
As the 2015 NFL Draft approaches, Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis will likely rely on the selection process to help fill voids on the line. Now that the Senior Bowl is over, the scouting combine will be the next step of the rookie class analysis, so today we’ll look at Iowa standout offensive tackle Brandon Scherff, the top rated lineman in his class.
His upper body strength, strong hands and knee bend make him a dominant force in the running game, but it’s pass protection that the Saints really need to improve on. Scherff deals with missteps on occasion, but those can be developed to help keep Brees safe in the pocket.
The drive blocking he displays is outstanding, granting him the ability to attack, control and keep separation from his targeted rushers. Scherff boasts functional quickness and great weight shift that helps him overpower his rushers, sometimes bringing them to ground.
At 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, Scherff owns a wide frame with surprisingly light feet, allowing him to control his momentum. While his missteps are a weakness, he still has those strong hands to lock onto his opponents while pass blocking.
Health issues have been a problem, but it seems as if he has overcome those past injuries. Scherff is a special talent that will likely go far as a true anchor on an offensive line in the NFL. However, my LSU bias aside, I still like La’el Collins better for the New Orleans Saints due to his position flexibility between guard and tackle.
It’s left guard Ben Grubbs that must be the first lineman to be replaced, and Collins is a better fit for that specific role. Regardless, be sure to keep an eye on Scherff and the abilities he displays at this month’s NFL Scouting Combine.
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