Brandon Scherff accepts invitation to attend NFL Draft

Rick Brown
Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (68) before the start of the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl against the Tennessee Volunteers at EverBank Field. The Tennessee Volunteers beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 45-28.

Outland Trophy winner and consensus first-team all-American offensive tackle Brandon Scherff of Iowa will learn his NFL fate firsthand on April 30.

Scherff is one of 26 players to accept the NFL's invitation to attend the opening night of the draft in Chicago.

Scherff, from Denison, is expect to be the Hawkeyes' first first-round selection since offensive tackle Riley Reiff went to Detroit with the 23rd pick of the 2012 draft.

Most consider Scherff a lock to become Iowa's first top-10 selection since another Outland Trophy winner, Robert Gallery, went to Oakland with the second pick of the 2004 draft. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. listed Scherff as one of the 10 safest picks in the draft.

Kiper had Scherff going to the New York Jets with the No. 6 pick in his latest mock draft on Thursday. Of Scherff, Kiper wrote, "The Jets are going to have a good defense next season regardless of whom they take here. The new threats in the passing game are nice, but given the QB options on the roster, this team needs to be able to run the ball. Scherff is a possible starter immediately at right tackle, and is a clear upgrade at either guard spot. It might not be exciting for the fans, but for immediate impact this could be the best pick to make."

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had Scherff No. 6 in his latest rankings of the top 32 prospects released last Thursday. Said McShay, "Scherff projects to me as the Zack Martin of this draft class. His lack of ideal length puts into question whether he can become an NFL offensive tackle, but I think he still has a shot to become one, and at worst he has what it takes to be a very good guard at the next level. He displays excellent toughness, he's good in pass protection, is an elite run-blocker and is a powerful, nasty finisher."

Another Iowa player, defensive tackle Carl Davis, has been mentioned as a possible late first-round pick. He didn't make Kiper's recent first-round mock draft.

McShay broke down the top defensive tackle prospects on ESPN's website Tuesday. Of Davis, McShay said, "He has the size of a nose tackle but the quickness and athleticism to succeed as a 3-technique, and possibly as a 4-3 nose or a 5-technique D-end in a 3-4 defense. The only question with him is whether he'll play with a consistent motor in the NFL."

The second and third rounds of the draft will take place May 1, with rounds four through seven to follow on May 2.