First things first. I’m in the camp of giving new GM Scot McCloughan every benefit of the doubt. It would be unfair to be one of the guys who have begged for a legit top-tier talent evaluator and then be overly critical of that guy’s first-ever draft pick for the organization.
Secondly, there’s no reason to be overly critical of McCloughan’s selection of Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff with the 5th pick in the first round. He’s a very good player who fills a major need.
I was surprised however that Scherff was the pick at #5. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Skins had traded down and taken Scherff a few picks later but with Leonard Williams still on the board, I thought they would take him or trade the pick to someone who wanted him.
Williams has been the consensus #1 player on most boards for months now. Skins GM Scot McCloughan promised that he would take the best player available on his board. So the surprise is that Scherff was rated higher on McCloughan’s board then Williams.
A smaller surprise was that the Skins made their pick so quickly instead of waiting as long as they could for a potential killer offer. When Oakland picked Amari Cooper and the Skins went on the clock, NFL Network’s Albert Breer tweeted “Raiders take Cooper, dream scenario for Skins” implying that the Skins’ trade-down hope was now very much in play. They didn’t wait and made their pick quickly with still several minutes left on the clock.
After the selection of Scherff, Breer reported that McCloughan’s top 3 players in this draft were Fowler Jr., Cooper, and Scherff. Clearly the boards for the Jags (who took Fowler Jr.) and Raiders (who took Cooper) were similar with respect to Williams.
My guess is that Fowler Jr. being available at #5 would’ve prompted an offer from Atlanta that would’ve resulted in the Skins getting Scherff at #8 while also picking up an extra 2nd or 3rd-round pick in the process. But that didn’t play out.
If you believe Breer, McCloughan stuck to his board and took Scherff. What would’ve been very interesting is if the Raiders had taken Williams instead of Cooper. According to Breer, McCloughan would’ve then taken Cooper.
Bottom line, McCloughan got a guy he valued very high and got him in a value spot. Scherff was the 3rd-best player on his board and he got him at 5. And he filled a major need. Not bad.