The Dallas Cowboys closed out their portion of the 2012 NFL draft by drafting inside linebacker Caleb McSurdy from Montana with their seventh round pick (#222 overall). The Cowboys were looking for another inside linebacker to go with Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Dan Connor after not re-signing Bradie James and Keith Brooking.
McSurdy is a very instinctual linebacker who relies on his play recognition and pre-snap keys to put himself in a strong position to make plays. He is a quick-twitched mover once the ball is snapped and easily sniffs out run plays. He is a solid, reliable wrap-up tackler on the inside and shows a polished ability to dip his hips, fend off a low block and make a quick move towards the ball.
McSurdy is a bit undersized for the inside linebacker position. Given his inexperience with top-line collegiate play, he could struggle against bigger offensive linemen working toward the second level in the NFL. He struggles against tight ends.
McSurdy, 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after recording 114 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. He earned an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and he said six or seven teams have called him since to check in on him and make sure they have his draft-day contact information, but he has not visited any teams.
McSurdy is considered an inside linebacker, but several teams asked him to workout at fullback during the combine.
The 6-foot-1, 242-pounder from Boise, Idaho, McSurdy was named to several All-American teams after making a team-high 131 tackles for the 11-3 Griz. He had 9.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions - he took his last 61 yards for a touchdown in UM's 31-28 FCS semifinal loss at Sam Houston State.