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Kirk Ferentz sees Brandon Scherff as first-round draft pick

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz believes Hawkeyes offensive tackle Brandon Scherff compares favorably with some of the top former Iowa linemen in the NFL, including the Baltimore Ravens' Marshal Yanda and former first-round picks Riley Reiff (Detroit Lions) and Bryan Bulaga (Green Bay Packers). And according to the Des Moines Register, Ferentz expects Scherff, a senior, to be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, as well.

"It's not about the combine stuff, although Brandon's got freakish strength and explosion," Ferentz said. "But a lot of guys can't carry that to the field. Brandon's got the ability to do that, too. He's a rare guy."

Rare enough to earn Big Ten Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year honors by a vote of the league's coaches. In a league known for road-grading offensive linemen, Scherff beat out the likes of Wisconsin's Rob Havenstein, Michigan State center Jack Allen and Ohio State guard Pat Elflein for the award.

Scherff is one of three finalists for the ultimate individual award for linemen on both sides of the ball: the Outland Trophy. Others who made the finalist cut were Auburn center Reese Dismukes and Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown. The winner will be announced Dec. 11.

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock compared Scherff to Cowboys first-round pick Zack Martin, and Joel Bitonio, a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. But Mayock believes he could project better at offensive guard at the NFL level, as rookies Martin and Bitonio have.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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