Help has arrived.
Philip Rivers might have even said his first curse word.
The Chargers finally addressed the offensive line after selecting former USC center Max Tuerk in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Center was a big need coming into the draft, and Tuerk helps solidify what should be a solid group IF they stay healthy.
Here’s what Pro Football Focus had to say:
“The best-moving center in the draft, watching Tuerk pull and locate targets in the run game is a thing of beauty. He missed most of 2015, but he was off to a monster start with a +9.4 overall grade on only 113 snaps. He has some trouble with shotgun snaps, but his length, athleticism and production make him a viable option to get into camp to try at multiple positions.”
The versatile Tuerk, who was a four-year starter for the Trojans, played all along the line including 18 starts at center, 14 starts at left guard, five at left tackle and one at right tackle. He is strong (26 bench press reps at his pro day) and athletic as they come. He’s tall for a center, standing in at 6-foot-5, but he’s deemed a perfect fit in a zone-blocking scheme. Tuerk earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2014.
If it weren’t for a season-ending knee injury last season, Tuerk would have likely been one of the first centers taken. An anonymous scout even preferred Tuerk to Ryan Kelly before the injury, comparing him to Falcons center Alex Mack. He only weighs 298 pounds, so tacking on a few extra pounds would be idealistic so he doesn’t get outmuscled by elite nose/defensive tackles.
With this selection, the Chargers will (hopefully) not go into the season with Chris Watt or Trevor Robinson starting at center. 2014 third-round pick Watt has been injured and inconsistent to say the least when on the field. Until proven otherwise, he will be a backup guard. On the other hand, Robinson finished as the worst offensive lineman in the league last year, per PFF, and will likely be cut before the season.
If Tuerk can be anything like Mack, then the Chargers have struck gold. He will make everyone next to him better, and that’s what makes this pick so valuable. General manager Tom Telesco has done an excellent job with the first three picks in the draft.