2012 NFL Draft: Previewing Max Gruder

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Roc the Pittsburgh Panther cheers against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the game on September 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Irish defeated the Panthers 15-12. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Continuing on with our look at Pitt players headed to the NFL Draft, Max Gruder is kind of a forgotten man. Still he's got a shot to be taken and as I said before, all it takes is one interested team.

Gruder is rated as the 23rd best inside linebacker by NFLDraftScout.com. This writer has Gruder way up at No. 5 at his position.

For Gruder, it's all about size. CBS Sports says he has his limitations when it comes to playing in the NFL:

Doesn't have enough speed, power or bulk to fit any LB position perfectly in the NFL.

Philly.com also says there's a lack of size there and SidelineScouting says that while he has good size, he could add some more weight.

For what it's worth, a student that was at the East-West Shrine game and says some scouts near him had good things to say about Gruder. Walter Football has a different story, though, saying he didn't have a great week of practice for that game. They also slotted him as the 25th best outside linebacker.

Sports Illustrated projects Gruder as a free agent. But if he's drafted, where could he end up?

As a projected late pick or free agent, the team rumblings are, of course, pretty minimal. But as expected, he was given a look by the Steelers. Shouldn't be a huge surprise, though, as they usually take a look at most of the local seniors and draft prospects.

And while this is pretty much a crap shoot, here's one mock draft that has Gruder going in the seventh round to the Cowboys.

I'm not personally sold that Gruder can't play in the NFL. Yes, there's a lack of size, but if he gets a chance, I've got to think he can make a roster and maybe catch on as a special teams player to start. That might not translate into him being drafted, but I'm sure all Gruder's looking for is a shot.

Lastly, here's a draft interview with Gruder.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt football and basketball.

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