NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
The Patriots are known for taking players and using them in ways other teams might not. That is exactly what we have here with Max Tuerk. He is a guy who played Center in college but has the build and movement skills to play multiple positions along the line. Here are the rest of my thoughts after watching this intriguing player who may be making a position change at the next level.
It was good to see the Patriots, well, be the Patriots again. Last weekend we saw a glimpse of the team that started out the season 10-0 only to have injuries temporarily derail them. It wasn’t perfect, but it is exactly what the team and its fans needed to get their confidence and swagger back going into Denver. The butterflies have already started to flutter and we still have a few days until kickoff. What better way to pass the time than watch some exciting interior offensive line play. To be honest, I had fun doing it. Here is what I saw from Max Tuerk, who could be a very polarizing prospect come draft time.
Name: Max Tuerk (#75)
School: USC (SR.)
Weight: 285 Lbs.
The first thing that jumps out at you when looking at Tuerk is his versatility. Even with his Senior year cut short due to injury, he has 38 career starts. Of those, 18 are at Center, 14 are at Left Guard, 5 at Left Tackle, and 1 at Right Tackle. In his Junior and Senior year though, he played primarily at Center. On tape, Tuerk showed great explosion out of his stance and is one of the rare players to have the agility and athleticism to consistently pull from the Center position. He showed great awareness to recognize defensive schemes and call out the lines pass protections. He kept his head on a swivel and would always be looking for someone to block or help. Tuerk seems to have a bit of nastiness in his game and will finish off blocks through the whistle. Tuerk also plays with light feet and good balance in pass protection. He was considered a team leader and was named a team captain multiple times.
At 285 Lbs, Tuerk is just too light and he has a narrow frame that could limit just how much bulk and weight he can add. He will need to maximize every pound he puts on and get stronger, especially in his lower half. The other major concern is the knee injury. It did happen early in the year, but with a guy his size, you just never know how long it will take for him to get back to normal. On tape, Tuerk can struggle with leverage and hand placement because of his height and the position he played. I think if he is moved outside this becomes less of a factor. When going up against bigger defensive lineman, he would get knocked back, but to his credit, he did a nice job reanchoring. This did create timing issues for Running Backs from time to time however.
I am a big fan of Tuerk. I really think he has the footwork and athleticism to play Tackle in the NFL. His weight and lack of “sand in the pants” is a concern, especially coming of an injury that will have stunted his growth that he would have naturally got if he would have been able to play all year. He might need some time to develop, but the traits teams are looking for are there. I am really intrigued by his versatility and I think people will compare his versatility to Cameron Irving from last year, who was a first round pick. What I like better about Tuerk though is that I think he is better suited to move outside rather than inside like Irving did. Tuerk most definitely will be in my top 100 and probably closer to top 75 when all is said and done. With the injury and the position other teams might draft him to play, I think he might go later than that and could be a steal.