CHICAGO - Brandon Scherff grew up in the town of Denison, Iowa, which is actually not much bigger than he is. It's home to around 8,000 people and not much else.
"Lots of hunting and fishing," Scherff said on Wednesday at an NFL Play 60 pre-draft event. "I loved it. You were close with everyone. Small town."
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So when he went to the big city -- Iowa City, that is -- to play college football for the Hawkeyes, it was an adjustment. Then, when the offensive lineman arrived in Chicago for the start of the NFL Draft festivities earlier this week, it was another step up in the scale of cities through which he's plotting his arrival in the pros.
There aren't many towns bigger than Chicago, though. So where could he possibly wind up after Thursday night's first round that would complete the ascension and dwarf the Second City?
How about the First City.
"Iowa City to Chicago to New York," Scherff said. "Yeah."
It does seem to be a perfect fit. The Giants have been rebuilding their offensive line through the past two drafts, taking Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg in the first- and second-rounds respectively in 2013 and 2014. Scherff, considered by many to be the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in this year's crop, could be the finishing touch in that renovation. He's smart, physical, nasty and polished.
The 6-5, 319-pounder said he visited the Giants two weeks ago on his tour of NFL teams interested in him.
"They seem interested," he said. "I love the coaching staff up there and everything they stand for. I'll be excited wherever I go."
Coming to New York City, though, would certainly be a shock to the kid from rural Iowa. In fact, it may be more of an adjustment for him than moving from college to the NFL.
"It's going to take some getting used to," he said with a grin. "It's a little bigger. I'm just going to enjoy the experience and fit in as best I can."
That's not to say Scherff is an automatic for the Giants with their ninth overall pick. There are some scenarios in which they may decide to go in a different direction. If Amari Cooper or Kevin White fall to the ninth pick, for example, they could be enticed to add to their wide receiver weaponry. They could decide that after three straight offensive first-round picks they need to address defense and look at DT Danny Shelton or even DE Randy Gregory.
General manager Jerry Reese gave no indication about whether the Giants would even stay with the ninth pick. Most analysts sense a serious drop-off in talent after the first six or seven players are off the board. Could the Giants jump up into that group? If they can't, would they trade back?
"We will keep all of our options open on the draft," Reese said. "We can trade up and we can trade down. That doesn't change. We're not looking to trade just to try to be cute to trade up or down. If we think we have an opportunity to move up, then we will move up. If we have an opportunity to move back, then we will do that as well."
If they stay at nine, though, and the draft goes according to the way most expect it will, Scherff should fall right to them. He'd be a nice consolation for the team that last year selected Odell Beckham Jr. at 12 and had no regrets about it at all (once he got on the field, anyway).
Scherff also would give the Giants versatility on the line. They could line him up at guard and keep Justin Pugh at right tackle, or they could slide Pugh inside and put Scherff at right tackle. He could even be groomed for left tackle as Will Beatty's eventual replacement.
When Scherff visited the Giants, the team asked him which position he'd like to play. "I said, 'I see myself playing wherever you want me to play,'" Scherff said.
When he said that, the Giants probably thought: In New York, and for us.