X

St. Louis Rams Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Brandon Scherff

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVApril 17, 2015

Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (68) blocks during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
Justin Hayworth/Associated Press

With the NFL draft just weeks away, members of the St. Louis Rams' front office will begin making cases for various potential targets at No. 10 overall.

One player who's undoubtedly being discussed at Rams Park is Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff. This article will take up Scherff's cause and make a case for him at No. 10.

Drafting a tackle isn't the exciting, sexy choice many fans are hoping for. It's not a selection that will sell jerseys or boost ticket sales, but it's still a sound decision.

If the top wide receivers—Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White—are off the board and there's no franchise quarterback to be had, the Rams could do a lot worse than settling for Scherff.

Jeff Fisher Needs to Return to His Run-1st Roots

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

It's no secret that Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has an old-school philosophy. We'll never witness a high-octane passing attack in St. Louis as long as he's around.

Fisher teams utilize tough defense, special teams trickery and ball control. His teams are built to run the football, which wears out the opposing defense and keeps the St. Louis defense well rested by slowly moving the chains.

Unfortunately, the run game has been lacking in St. Louis under Fisher's leadership. It's time to return to his roots.

During Fisher's tenure with the Tennessee Titans, he had six seasons with double-digit win totals. Those six teams averaged 509 rushing attempts and 16.8 rushing touchdowns per season. Fisher's St. Louis teams haven't come close to matching that. The Rams have averaged just 410 rushing attempts and 8.6 rushing touchdowns per season since his arrival.

All six of those Tennessee teams also featured a 1,000-yard rusher. The St. Louis backs have failed to hit the 1,000-yard mark in the past two seasons.

Sure, the coaching and lack of a potent passing gamewhich would take the focus off the runhave something to do with that.

However, a big reason for St. Louis' inferior run game is the offensive line.

The Rams drafted road grader Greg Robinson with the No. 2 overall pick a year ago, and he's expected to make a big impact in the run game this year. But Robinson is not enough—the team needs another nasty lineman capable of opening holes.

That's where Scherff comes in.

He is violent when it comes to engaging defenders and taking them for a ride. He doesn't get pushed around.

He might not have the raw power of Miami's Ereck Flowers, but he makes up for that by possessing pass protection skills far superior to Flowers'.

According to ESPN.com, Mel Kiper has Scherff mocked to the New York Giants at No. 9 overall. Kiper compared him to Zack Martin, a rookie Pro Bowler in 2014 for the Dallas Cowboys:

I think he can be an immediate force in the run game and at a minimum becomes a dominant guard. I've made the comparison before, but in the same way that Dallas drafted a tackle in Zack Martin and moved him inside as a rookie and saw him flourish, I think the Giants can count on immediate dividends from Scherff as either a right tackle or a guard right of the gate.

According to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, the Rams were very interested in drafting Martin a year ago. If the Rams agree that Scherff has similar skills, he could be high on their list.

Hearing Scherff's name called on draft day wouldn't be exciting, but that disappointment would vanish in Week 1 when he's opening up mile-wide holes for Tre Mason in the run game.

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

St. Louis' Need for Offensive Linemen Is Just Getting Sad

Many writers and fans, including myself, have rallied behind the idea of drafting a playmaker such as Cooper with the top pick.

That's still a possibility, but let's face it: We all assumed the team would have locked up free-agent tackle Joe Barksdale or at least Atlanta Falcons free agent Justin Blalock by now.

It's possible that a free agent or two will be signed before the draft kicks off. Perhaps the Rams are purposefully ignoring the offensive line so opponents will wrongfully believe that St. Louis plans to address the position in Round 1.

Whatever the reason, the Rams cannot allow this need to persist. The team needs high-quality offensive linemen immediately. Otherwise, the offense will be extremely painful to watch in 2015.

Not only is Scherff rapidly becoming known as the top offensive lineman of the classCBSSports.com rates him as the top tacklebut he has versatility. He can fill either guard position or replace Barksdale at right tackle.

This versatility would give the Rams flexibility in the later rounds. They wouldn't feel pressured to choose between a guard or a tackle. Scherff's ability to bounce around would give them the freedom to select either one in the middle rounds.

If the Rams select a true tackle, such as Stanford's Andrus Peat, the team would then be pressured to draft a pure guard later on. Adding Scherff wouldn't limit St. Louis that way.

Until the Rams get something done through free agency, it's hard to see a scenario where Scherffor another offensive linemanis not selected at No. 10 overall.

Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and served as the Rams' game-day correspondent in 2014. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or following him on Twitter.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.