As we meander our way through our 'Nine for No. 9' series, looking at potential first-round picks for the New York Giants in the 2015 NFL Draft, we have come to the player everyone is already tired of talking about. That, of course, is Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff. So, here we go.
The case for Scherff
If everyone is healthy, the conventional wisdom goes that the Giants need one quality starting offensive lineman to complete that group. By extension, to have a complete, potentially dominant, offense. Scherff, by most accounts, is the top offensive lineman in the class, regardless of position. He is a plug-and-play, pro-ready Day 1 NFL starter on the offensive line of whatever team drafts him. Somewhere. Whether that is right tackle, where most think he would be good, or guard, where most think he can be great, is the question. The Giants could use either, so he fits. He is also a dominant run blocker, something the Giants need, and seems like a Tom Coughlin type of player.
Ross Binder of SB Nation's Iowa web site, Black Heart Gold Pants, called Scherff "the meanest, toughest, and quite possibly strongest lineman available in the draft." Our own 'Invctus' isn't sure what Scherff's ultimate NFL position will be, but believes he is better than former Iowa offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga and Riley Rieff.
The case for Scherff is simple. He would instantly complete the Giants' offensive line, and should start and excel in the league for years to come if he remains healthy. It's tough not to want a guy like that on your team. Besides, watch the video this post starts with and tell me you don't come away thinking 'that's how you play offensive line.'
The case against Scherff
This is simple. It is the left tackle question. Do you believe Scherff can play it, and play it well at the NFL level? Do you believe that an offensive lineman taken in the top 10 of the NFL Draft should be a guy with Pro Bowl potential at left tackle? Do you believe the left tackle thing is overblown, since so many quality pass rushers line up over the right tackle?
Fact is, the Giants face a decision about left tackle Will Beatty after the 2015 season. Beatty, aside from one abominable season, has been a good player for the Giants. He has a five-year, $37.5 million contract, however. The Giants can save $11 million against the salary cap in 2016 and 2017 combined if they cut Beatty after the 2015 season. If you cut Beatty, though, you better have a replacement at the ready. Currently, there isn't one on the Giants' roster.
The sole reason for not drafting Scherff is the belief that he can't be the guy who eventually replaces Beatty. The Giants used a firs-round pick (19th overall) on Justin Pugh two seasons ago. If you use another first-round pick on an offensive lineman and still come away without a long-term left tackle, that is problematic.