Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
The 2014 St Louis Rams were not a terrible team. Going 6-10 and finishing last in the division is obviously not the kind of season any team hopes for but there were bright spots to build on. They finished 9th in defensive DVOA last year and have added Nick Fairley and Akeem Ayers this offseason to plug their only real holes on that side of the ball, so they should be even better in 2015.
Offense, on the other hand, was a different story. They finished 25th in offensive DVOA, 21st in points per game and 28th in yards per game. Trading for Nick Foles was an attempt to address the weaknesses here, but it will count for nothing if they can't give him any help. Zac Stacy, Isaiah Pead and Tre Mason are a nice stable of RBs and last year's #2 pick Greg Robinson is a great anchor at LT but, outside of that, they could use an upgrade at every position on offense.
I think the Rams would love a dynamic WR at #10, but with Cooper and White already off the board and Devante Parker a reach this early in the first round, they instead look to the best offensive lineman in the draft.
Brandon Scherff fits Jeff Fisher's power blocking scheme perfectly. He demonstrates great strength and routinely dominates the player across from him in the run game. While he's a much better run blocker than he is a pass protector, he can more than hold his own in the passing game. Take this play against Nebraska:
It's 3rd and 19, Randy Gregory (another guy projected in the top half of the first round) is lined up in the wide 9 and Scherff handles him easily. Another underrated aspect of his game is how well he identifies blitzes/stunts and adjusts to make sure he blocks the right guy.
There's some debate about whether Scherff projects better at tackle or guard, but with Robinson and LG Rodger Saffold the only starting caliber linemen on the Rams' roster at the moment, he'll be an immediate upgrade at either position.
I personally think that he's strong enough and athletic enough to handle either position in the NFL with proper coaching. He was recently clocked running the 3-cone drill in 7.18 at his pro day (for reference, Jason Kelce runs a 7.22 and Lane Johnson runs a 7.31) and with a little more polished footwork should be able to stay outside at the next level.
Ultimately, the Rams success moving forward will be almost entirely based on their ability to keep Nick Foles upright and build a solid ground game to take some of the pressure off him because, as we know all to well, he's not a guy that can consistently take over a game by himself. This may not be the sexiest pick, but it's probably the smartest one. Investing heavily in the offensive line is the Rams best chance of success now and in the future.
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