A lot of people had very high hopes for Max Tuerk when the Chargers selected him in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was recovering from an injury and the Chargers brought in Matt Slauson so Tuerk would have all the time he needed to finish healing and hit the books to learn the offense.
Tuerk saw some time in a few preseason games last year, but didn’t get into any of the regular season games. He learned the playbook, got some tips from Matt Slauson, and got to practice against Brandon Mebane who also gave him some pointers.
He also worked on adding some weight and getting his base stronger. Coming off the ACL injury Tuerk was pretty slender and needed to get to an NFL weight. According to Eric Williams (ESPN) as of mid April Tuerk was up to 295-298 lbs and said he plans on being just over 300 going into the season. Being at 300 would give him enough weight to compete with interior defensive linemen, who can be 350+, while also hopefully being able to maintain his outstanding athleticism which made him such a unique prospect.
All that sounds pretty good right?
Which is what makes it interesting, and slightly concerning, that 2nd year UDFA IOL Spencer Pulley is still taking all the 1st team reps at OC.
But this could be a good problem to have.
FIrst, competition brings out the best in most people, especially offensive linemen who relish 1 on 1 combat. This is going to be one of the best battles of training camp.
Second, whenever you have an UDFA perform well enough to make the roster it’s a good thing. When you have an UDFA who can start for your team, it’s a fantastic thing.
Third, both Pulley and Tuerk can play any of the three IOL positions. When you have a backup that can start at any of those spots at a moments notice, without a large drop off in performance, it gives you a ton of roster flexibility.
Yes, it would be a shame if a 3rd round pick couldn’t break the starting lineup in his second year. But if you consider the positives, and remember that the Chargers have yet to put on pads and actually do what linemen are supposed to do every down, there isn’t a lot to get concerned about...yet.