NFL Draft

New Center of Attention: USC’s Max Tuerk


It came two rounds later than many expected, but the Chargers finally addressed the offensive line on Friday by selecting USC center Max Tuerk with the No. 66 overall pick (third round).

It was no secret the Chargers were looking for security at the hub position. Starter Chris Watt missed 11 games last season with ankle, head and shoulder injuries, while backup Trevor Robinson earned a putrid Pro Football Focus grade of 23.4.

Enter Tuerk, the athletic and versatile interior lineman who gives maximum effort on every snap. He likely would have been a first- or second-round pick if not for an ACL injury suffered in October.

Tuerk is not yet fully recovered from the injury. He will be limited during the offseason program but should be full-go by training camp, when he is expected to challenge Watt for the starting center position.

“I’m feeling great,” he told “It’s been about seven months now [since the injury]. I’ve been running and feeling strong. It’s feeling great right now. I’ll work through a timetable and meet with the Chargers doctors.”

If Tuerk wins the starting position, the Chargers could move Watt back to guard, where depth is essentially non-existent.

No matter how the competition plays out, it will be for the betterment of the interior offensive line. Significant improvement will be expected now that GM Tom Telesco has spent third-round picks on centers in two of the last three drafts.

“When [Tuerk is] ready to go, he comes in and compete with Trevor and with Chris Watt,” Telesco said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Tuerk is the second offensive player drafted by the Chargers this weekend, joining TE Hunter Henry, the second-round pick out of Arkansas.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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