The Los Angeles Chargers' 2017 draft class has earned rave reviews from the likes of ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, MMQB's Peter King and many more.
As with every team, some draft picks will make their presence felt immediately. Others will require additional seasoning to make an impact.
Joey Bosa and Hunter Henry proved the former a year ago, emerging as two of the top playmakers at their respective positions. One year later, Max Tuerk looks to follow in their footsteps. His goal following what amounted to a red-shirt rookie year is to lock down a starting center or guard position when the Bolts kick off the season on Monday Night Football in Denver.
"I'm working to earn that starting job. I want to get strong and better. I want to keep getting my weight up. I'm working to get better overall, but I am (focused) on getting that starting job."
The Chargers selected Tuerk with the 66th overall pick, and immediately tempered expectations for his contributions in 2016. After all, the center was coming off an ACL injury suffered the previous October. Even though Tuerk was able to participate as early as training camp, the Bolts knew it would take time for the athletic center to fully feel like his old self.
While you may not have seen the USC product on the field last year, rest assured he was plenty busy. Tuerk clung to Matt Slauson's hip pocket, soaking up everything the grizzled vet had to offer. He got valuable practice reps while at the same time allowing his knee to fully heal.
"Last year I wasn't able to play at all, but I took a lot of reps in practice. I worked hard getting back from the knee injury. I got my body stronger and mentally prepared for the NFL. I think it helped a lot. Being able to get stronger in the weight room, get my knee better, really study the playbook and learn from (Slauson) was important."
Even though Tuerk sees value in his rookie year, it was difficult to go through at the time.
"Of course I wanted to play. It was a learning experience. Again, I look at it (now) as an opportunity to get better, which was good."
In the coming days, Tuerk will be joined by two new rookie offensive linemen taken on day two of the draft just like he was a year ago.
So, what is his advice for Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney?
"Just work hard. That's most important. Work hard. Just know there is a great support system here. Really lean on the older guys because they will help you a lot. The veterans here are good mentors and help a lot."