Once projected as a first round pick for the 2016 NFL Draft, Max Tuerk now has the look of a Day Two steal at center.
Max Tuerk has all the athleticism a team could want from an offensive lineman, but questions over his return from an ACL injury has clouded his draft future.
Here’s a look at where Tuerk stands heading into Thursday:
What Max Tuerk did at USC:
Tuerk started 38 games for the Trojans, including the final five games of his true freshman season.
In four years, Tuerk served as a left tackle, left guard, center, and right tackle. His ability to fill any position across the line gave USC the freedom to build the offensive front around him in 2014 when he stepped in as the center, a spot he’d hold until tearing his ACL midway through the 2015 season.
All told, Tuerk was honored as a All-Pac-12 First Team selection, USC’s Offensive Lineman of the Year, and USC’s Most Inspirational Player.
What Max Tuerk could do in the NFL:
Tuerk’s versatility makes him a valuable commodity in the NFL, though most projections limit him to the inside as a guard or center.
Exceptional athleticism is Tuerk’s greatest asset and may have to counteract any concerns about being undersized for the pro level.
Excepting the season-ending knee injury, Tuerk’s injury record raises few red flags. However, the timing of that particular setback has spread doubt on his future. Taking the injury out of the equation, Tuerk was discussed as a potential starter, most likely at center, for whichever team picks him up.
What the scouts say about Max Tuerk:
“I’m not sure I’ve seen a lineman move with the explosiveness and fluidity that Tuerk does in space, yet maintain such a controlled style of play…Where Tuerk struggles is in the power aspects of the game, too often giving up an interior push when defensive linemen get under his pads and win the leverage battle.” — Jon Ledyard of USA Today Sports
“[Tuerk]’s an above average athlete with excellent football IQ and the potential to start at center in a zone-heavy scheme. But he doesn’t have the length to play on the outside and he has a marginal powerbase for a guard, so he’s not as versatile when you project him to the NFL.” — ESPN
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- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
“While his tape shows a linemen with plenty of ability, it is absolutely vital that Tuerk applies some bulk in order for him to be a complete asset to a team. With the proper amount of bulk, Tuerk can be a component in a zone-blocking scheme with his athleticism. Tuerk stills offers intrigue and one team is going to see the potential and grab an overall solid offensive lineman.” — Eric Robinson of NFL Mocks
“Tuerk’s unique frame and experience makes a potential wildcard of this year’s talented center class with some clubs projecting him back at guard or even tackle. He played his best at center and comes with experience in a pro-style offense, which should make his transition to the NFL a relatively seamless one, assuming he’s fully recovered from the knee injury.” — Rob Rang of CBS Sports
“Athletic, but undersized center who gives tremendous pound-for-pound effort on every rep. Tuerk uses hand strength and plus balance and body control to make up for a lack of power, but his knee injury and below average mass for the position will certainly scare some teams away. Tuerk can handle himself in any scheme but is a fit for primarily zone scheme rushing attacks who don’t face many 3-4 fronts within their division.” — Lance Zierlein of NFL.com
Where Max Tuerk could get picked:
- Mike Murray (Bolt Beat): San Diego Chargers, 3rd round, 66th overall
- Mel Kiper (ESPN): Jacksonville Jaguars, 3rd round, 69th overall
- Paul Hudrick (NBC Philadelphia): Philadelphia Eagles, 3rd round, 79th overall
- Todd McShay (ESPN): Arizona Cardinals, 3rd round, 92 overall
- Walter Cherepinsky (Walter Football): Indianapolis Colts, 5th round, 155th overall
- Charlie Campbell (Walter Football): San Francisco 49ers, 5th round, 142 overall