2012 NFL Draft: Why Montana's Caleb "Dirty" McSurdy Is NFL Material

Charles ConradContributor IJanuary 17, 2012

Throughout football history, linebackers have been given some of the sport's most creative nicknames. 

Former Philadelphia Eagles tough guy Chuck Bednarik was dubbed "Concrete Charlie." The towering 6'7'' linebacker Ted Hendricks of the legendary Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Colts was known as "The Mad Stork."

And then there was Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds of the Rams and 49ers, who earned his nickname by cutting a car in half with a hacksaw after a loss while playing in college at Tennessee.

As the NFL season winds down, the attention of both diehard fans and team personnel will turn toward the annual NFL April draft. Having searched through various draft websites to check out college prospects, there is one player with a memorable nickname who is almost nowhere to be found. 

Caleb "Dirty" McSurdy of the Montana Grizzlies plays with a style that befits his nickname. Any player known as "Dirty" has obviously earned the honor through his grit and toughness on the field. McSurdy is a throwback linebacker who plays with a nastiness and names Dick Butkus as one of his favorite athletes.

Of course, a good old-fashioned football nickname is not enough reason to draft a player or invite him to training camp. McSurdy has earned that through his performance over the past two years as a starting middle linebacker. During that time, he has totalled 243 tackles and 17 tackles-for-loss. 

In 2011, McSurdy dominated at the FCS level with 131 tackles, 9.5 tackles-for-loss and four sacks. He was named as the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an AP and AFCA First Team FCS All-American.

He was also named to the popular Phil Steele's FCS All-American First Team. McSurdy was Montana's defensive team captain and a big part of the Grizzlies' 2011 run to the FCS semi-final playoff round. 

McSurdy comes from a prestigious FCS program that has seen many players go on to play at the professional level.

Current Montana Grizzlies in the NFL are: Kroy Biermann and Shann Schillinger in Atlanta, Marc Mariani in Tennessee, Dan Carpenter, Lex Hilliard and Jimmy Wilson in Miami, Colt Anderson in Philadelphia, Levi Horn in Chicago and Chase Reynolds in St. Louis. 

McSurdy plays up to his "Dirty" nickname the same way Dirty Harry earned his movie moniker—by doing "every dirty job that comes along" (as quoted by Clint Eastwood's famous character).

McSurdy does whatever it takes to get the job done on and off the field. He is a team-first type of player with a willingness to attack the line of scrimmage and take on blockers at the point of attack. 

He is a solid-form tackler who wraps up well and will plant his shoulders into the chest pad of the running back. He plays with an innate instinct and rarely gets caught out of position. He has adequate size at 6'1" and 242 pounds to line up at inside or middle linebacker.

In both high school and college, he was a successful track and field star in discus and the shot put. 

The only question surrounding McSurdy's ability to compete at the next level would be his speed. His 40-yard dash time at the Montana pro day workouts will go a long way toward determining his draft status. 

The fact that "Dirty" McSurdy plays for an FCS football power and earned numerous postseason honors makes his obscurity on NFL draft websites a mystery.

Even as a special teams player or possible fullback conversion a'la Korey Hall and Bruce Miller, there should be no hesitation to add him to a pre-draft prospect list and a training camp roster in 2012.